Saturday, 25 July 2015

2015 Scottish Odyssey (2) Amphibians at Culzean

The view from Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland

In my previous post I mentioned some of the mammals we encountered on our recent Scottish odyssey. This time I thought I would add a couple of amphibian sightings. We saw several toads (and a batch of tadpoles) during our time away, and I may post other photos in due course. 

You never know who may be lurking in a woodland garden ...

We knew the castle, lake and walled garden at NTS Culzean from a previous visit, but had not been to the designated wildlife garden before.


There were several signs about the place. I was particularly heartened to read the one below. 



The first creature we encountered was this Common Toad. I know that skin colours can differ in toads, but I had never seen one like this before. It was large and utterly magnificent. Stuart Babbs on Flicka suggests that a peaty environment may account for dark pigments in toads.

Has anyone else seen toads like this one? Alison Davies posted about black toads on iSpot and it was suggested that a dark colour absorbs more heat. The colour can be an advantage in dark surroundings ... like the frog box.



The photo below shows a newt (or is it still a large eft?). I have not been able to identify the exact species. 


I mentioned signs, and here in the photo below you can see another one, this time on the lid of the frog box. I have to confess at this point that both the black toad and the newt were in the box. We took a quick look and replaced the lid with great care. This kind of wildlife spotting felt a bit too easy - it was a bit like walking into the RSPB Minsmere Bittern Hide and seeing ... a Bittern!


You can see why we like the view from the castle! 



6 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a magnificent toad! I've seen very dark toadlets on occasion, but not sure whether they grow out of that!

Ian Doyle said...

Nice post Caroline, love the toad and newt shots.

amanda peters said...

The toad looks wonderful, have seen a much more browner one at the park. It looks like a grate place to visit..
Amanda xx

eileeninmd said...

Hello Carolyn, what a wonderful garden for the wildlife. I love the cute frog and newt. And congrats on the Bittern sighting. And what a very pretty shot of you and the scenic background! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy new week ahead!

Phil Slade said...

Hi Caroline and thank you for visiting my bird blog. Your dark toad is extremely interesting as is the discussion you pointed us to. I hardly ever see toads nowadays and either I'm not looking hard enough or the animal is not as once common as it was (like lots of things). I must admit the toads I have seen around here seem to be the standard green colour but I'll be looking closer at any I find now, especially as i am often in the peaty landscape of Lancashire.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Very interesting post, Caroline, and the photo of you and that spectacular view was delightful. I have no knowledge about toads/newts but I can tell you I would have been tempted to free the two you found. Surely, keeping them in a box is stressful, to say the least, for them.