Zach Vincent the Producer & Cameraman filming the Documentary on the Leopard Toad Volunteer initiatives has advised that the programme will be screened on 50/50. Very exciting! Zach spent quite a bit of time at the Clovelly Golf course ponds and also interviewed Mr. Ackerman about the need for Leopard Toad friendly habitat to secure the future of Leopard Toads in the ponds at the Clovelly Country Club.
The other good news is that after a very long and on/off – on/off breeding season I can report that the Silvermine River system and the Clovelly Country Club were the focus of a successful breeding season. We found eggs (see picture) in the ponds in the Wetlands as well as in ponds on the Clovelly Golf Course (CGC). But the best news is that Sue Swann and I found tadpoles in both ponds in the wetlands and in 4 of the 7 ponds we surveyed at the golf course. See picture.
A huge thank-you to all of the volunteer patrollers from Clovelly and the Silvermine River Rovers for all your time removing toads off roads and for filling in data sheets especially on those cold, wet nights. In total 61 leopard toads were counted on roads in Clovelly and hundreds were counted in all the Clovelly golf course ponds. Toad patrollers spent over 46 hours patrolling. All the toad patrols have been logged and will help to build a picture of toad breeding behaviour – even nil recordings provide vital information. Fortunately there were relatively few toads squashed on Clovelly Roads and we can really acknowledge our time patrolling and the increased awareness for the low mortality.
For those of us who were lucky enough to patrol on the golf course at the peak of the season – it was an amazing experience – now I know what is meant when people say it sounds like a bikers rally. There were literally hundreds of male leopard toads floating in the ponds with inflated throats catching the torch light. Listening to them calling is a special urban wildlife experience – I hope that the 50/50 insert catches some of the magic.
For the patrollers, the season is over, but for the Toads it has just started. Thousands of tiny tadpoles have started the hazardous journey to adulthood. Most will not make it – but will be food for a host of indigenous predators. This is all part of the Circle of Life. But, the tadpoles in a number of the ponds at the Clovelly Golf Course have the added challenges of avoiding being harvested when the ponds are cleared of excess water weed or becoming food for koi. Having said that, a task group including myself, Alison Faraday (ToadNUTS), Leighann Mossop (SANParks) and Dalton Gibbs (City of CT Nature Conservation) had a promising meeting with the CGC Grounds Manager, Steven Webber. He supports the principle of Leopard Toad conservation and is trying to balance the tadpole to toad habitat requirements with the demands of golfers for a manicured landscape. We are working together to raise awareness amongst the golfers about the ecological significance of leopard toads for the Clovelly golf course. At the same time we will be monitoring the development of the tadpoles as they grow bigger, develop legs and eventually emerge from the ponds as perfect miniature leopard toads. They then have to learn to survive on dry land and in our gardens where they `pay the rent ‘ by eating garden pests such as slugs and caterpillars.
If any of your friends are golfers at Clovelly, remind them (nicely) that the Clovelly Golf Course is not a green desert so typical of many golf courses, but that the future of Leopard Toads there depends on the golfers supporting management that allows nature and golf to co-exist.
Most of the toads that spend the `out–of-breeding-season’ in our gardens have probably returned – our large female has. So keep a look out for them and if you have any special toad tales – please share them with us.
Photo of the female `Toad on the Road’ by Michelle Saffer (who moved it to the safety of the pavement)