Monday, March 30, 2009

The Few, the Proud . . . the TOAD WATCH!


Last night I joined Marianne on toad patrol. Every spring, when the weather starts to get warm, you see, a young toad's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Unfortunately for local toads, the path to their mating territory at the old Roxborough Reservoir requires them to cross a road which has been increasingly busy of recent years, resulting in a real-life version of Frogger. As a result, the local toad population has been crashing.

So every night while the season is on, the road is closed and Marianne and her brave compeers go out to find the small creatures and usher them safely across. Alas, the road cannot be completely closed to cars (there are people who live on it), and so a significant fraction don't make it across. But the carnage is greatly reduced.

It's fun, in a weird way.

And what have I learned from the experience? It helps to bring along a thermos of something hot to drink and (if you end up standing at the barricades, turning away cars) something to read.

Oh, and incidentally . . .

There's a lot going on these days, so I think I'm going to be blogging daily this week. This isn't a change of guaranteed frequency, though. That's still Monday and Friday.



Алексей said...

Dear Michael,

I'm gald to see you're alive and well. Best wishes to you, Marianne and Sean.

Congratulation with your new Hugo nomination! I hope, you'll win, you really deserve it.

As for the above subject, as far as I know, in some countries they do special underground crossing for animals to cross busy highways.

Is itpossible to do something like that in your place?


Michael Swanwick said...

It's good to hear from you, Alexei.

Not a chance of creating underground crossings, though. It would be extremely expensive and the toads are only locally endangered.

This way is not only cheap, but it creates a good sense of community. Even the people who aren't part of it, who we turn away at the barricades are aware of what's going on and support it.

This is the first year. I'm sure it's going to be an annual event.

Lars said...

An admirable act of corporal mercy.

Also, the vests are to die for.

We have a similar operation for long-toed salamanders down in Waterton.