Projects

COMMON TOAD PROJECTS

The common toad is in decline in the UK and the exact reasons are unclear. As well as loss and fragmentation of habitat and breeding sites, mortality during their migration to their breeding ponds as they cross increasingly busy roads is having an increasing effect.

Toads on Roads - Toad Patrols

Toad patrols are an important way in which common toad populations are maintained across the UK and Derbyshire is no exception. In fact, Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group was first formed to co-ordinate the activities of various local toad patrollers in the 1980s and in 2015 there were sixteen patrols and other sites had some visits to rescue toads or other precautionary measures were undertaken to reduce casualties.

Small groups of volunteers go out on evenings during the spring and carry the toads across the road in a bucket. This not only ensures that the toads complete their journey safely, but also helps us to record vital information about the numbers and condition of animals crossing each year. We also have special toad signs which we put up during the spring to warn motorists to be careful.

If you think you can help us by volunteering in the spring or you are concerned that large numbers of toads are being killed on a road near you, please let us know by emailing the group at secretary@derbyshirearg.co.uk.

ADDER SURVEYS

Derbyshire ARG members have been carrying out adder surveys for several years both to determine distribution in the county and to contribute to the national Make the Adder Count Project which was started in 2005. Information about the project is on the ARGUK website http://www.arguk.org/get-involved/projects-surveys/mtac-2017

POND CONSERVATION WORK

Ponds often need maintenance work to keep them in a good condition for amphibians. This includes pulling out rubbish or invasive vegetation. This is often done during the winter when most of the ponds' inhabitants will be hibernating. We also work to create new ponds.

SLOW-WORM SURVEY

A survey was started in 2014 on a site in the Peak District near Hassop using artificial cover objects and it is being continued in 2015 following confirmation of the presence of common lizard as well as slow-worm. An additional survey at a Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve near Cromford has also been started in March 2015 where slow-worm and grass snake have been recorded.

Great Crested Newt Surveys in the Peak District

Between 2005 and 2012 the Group carried out great crested newt surveys in the White Peak for the National Park Authority. These have been to locate existing ponds supporting the species and to monitor the colonisation of ponds restored by a succession of grant aided projects in the area, including the Vision for Wildlife Project and the Proliferating Ponds Project, and in more recent years work funded by the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme.