The magic night of Common Toads

I had done some reserches in the past about the herpetological fauna of Parco dello Storga, in the Treviso province, but during those surveys I couldn’t locate many signs of presence of Common Toads (Bufo bufo) in the area: just few single individuals and some tadpoles.

Yesterday night I spent 4 hours in the park that protects the area of Storga river springs in order to see, after almost 10 years, how was the situation of amphibian populations, focusing on early appearing species like Italian Agile Frog (Rana latastei) and Common Toad. If I couldn’t find any egg or individual of the first species, I was definitely surprized by the massive number of individuals of the second!

Common Toads (Bufo bufo)
Common Toads (Bufo bufo)

Even if by night, reconnoitring the undergrowth, I recognized the beautiful flowers of many Primeroses (Primula vulgaris), White Violets (Viola alba) and Three-leaved Anemones (Anemone trifolia), but I was really surprized to discover carpets of Alpine Squills (Scilla bifolia), a species that I had never observed before in the Parco dello Storga!

Alpine Squill (Scilla bifolia)
Alpine Squill (Scilla bifolia)

This species is widespread in the Alps and Appennines, but very rare in the lowlands of Po valley.

Alpine Squill (Scilla bifolia)
Alpine Squill (Scilla bifolia)
Alpine Squill (Scilla bifolia)
Alpine Squill (Scilla bifolia)

Walking in the woodlands I heard also few species of birds: 2-3 Tawny Owls (Strix aluco), 1 Little Owl (Athene noctua) and a couple of Redwings (Turdus iliacus).

But the most spectacular observation was the trail plenty of amazing Common Toads!

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Some more were already in the water, populating the tens of pools created by the recent strong rains.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

I heard just 3-4 individuals calling in a pond: probably most of toads were still migrating or looking for food in the leaves bed.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

I found the that all the individuals were very small in comparison with individuals of the not so far Alps.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Anyway was really a great discover to count more than 75 different individuals of Common Toad, a species that is getting rare in the lowlands, expecially imaging that the Parco dello Storga is not farther than 2 kilometers from the walls of old city center of Treviso! Finally a good news: not everything is lost, wildlife still try to survive among our urban carpets of houses and sheds!

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Luca Boscain

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