The Danube Delta is full of marsh frogs and we saw them regularly. However, Florin our local Naturetrek guide, found us a more regional speciality – the yellow-bellied toad. Small, dark and very undistinguished from above – it has bright orangey-yellow markings underneath. As an extra bonus, one day when we came aboard our small boat and found a beautiful tree frog attached to one of the legs of a chair.
It was a damp day in the Zarnesti gorge and it did not take our guide very long at all to find this fabulous Fire Salamander. Even though it has several spots and patches of vibrant yellow on its skin, I doubt whether I would noticed it skulking through the moist undergrowth without some local help.
Salamandra salamandra, Zarnesti gorge
I open our green waste bin to find a toad perched on the top of our garden waste. I think it is a male as it is only 3 inches long. I do not want the toad to be lost below further waste or end up being turned into compost, so I try to lift him out. The moment I reach toward him, he scrambles down amongst the garden cuttings and out of sight. If only I could tell him I am trying to help him. I move the waste bin out onto the garden and lay it horizontal near some long grass. I also put out a shallow dish of water that I hope might help attract the toad out. I left this for several hours and, hoping the toad had gone on his way, I put the green waste bin back in its normal place.
When I open the green waste bin….the toad is, once again, perched on top of the garden waste. I recognise that yesterday’s efforts to catch the toad and his scrambling out of my reach had probably left him feeling secure in the dark lower section of the bin and he has not moved from there. So, today I simply leave the toad in the open bin and hope that he will jump to freedom. When I check the bin later that day, there is no sign of him. He must have escaped…
Next morning I open the green waste bin and there he is again. Toad salvation is going to require a much more effective strategy! I fetch a large tarpaulin from the garage and spread it over the lawn. I carefully pull out the contents of the green waste bin and spread cuttings, branches, leaves, weeds all over it until I spot the toad. Now I know where he is I can put all the contents back in the bin. This leaves him totally exposed but I think it will make him head for cover – somewhat lethargically he gradually makes his way under the nearest bush to freedom. About time!