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Squamish Environment Society reports first toads of the season

The organization is asking for tips on where the annual toadlet migration has gone.

The Squamish Environment Society’s western toad monitoring project in Alice Lake observed its first toad at Edith Lake on March 25 and on Fawn Lake on March 31.

Rachel Shephard, project co-ordinator, said the amphibians were first seen mating this year on April 4.
 

“These dates were similar to what we observed in 2020 and we anticipated that peak breeding would quickly follow, but cool, wet weather delayed the onset of egg-laying for about a week,” she told The Chief in an email.

As toads are cold-blooded, when temperatures warmed up to the mid-20s during the week of April 11 to 18, there was a short, intense breeding period, she said.

“Interestingly, Edith Lake had more breeding pairs and more extensive egg laying than last year, while Fawn Lake had fewer pairs and a smaller quantity of eggs,” she wrote “The north shoreline of Edith Lake was so busy with toads, that BC Parks temporarily closed a short section of shoreline trail. We’re grateful to everyone who respected the trail closure signs and stayed away from the breeding area, to let the toads do their thing.”

Shephard also said that the society is looking to see how non-native sunfish in Edith Lake interact with the toads.

So far, volunteers have found a number of cases where the fish have been striking, and, in some cases, eating the tadpoles.

Over the next month or so, the tadpoles will be undergoing metamorphosis late this month or July, depending on the weather and water temperature.

“We haven’t seen a toadlet migration for the past three years at Alice Lake Provincial Park and it’s a bit of a mystery where they are going,” Shephard wrote.

“Please keep your eyes peeled as we get close to that time for toadlets gathering on the shoreline of Fawn and Edith Lakes, or migrating across the trails. Having many eyes on the ground will be a big help.”

You can send any observations to toads@squamishenvironment.ca

Find out more about the program on the Squamish Environment Society website.