It pissed rain last night and the unrelenting downpour was such intensity that it would get the Noahs of this world asking themselves “have I got two of everything?!” There was lightning too and claps of shuddering thunder that had the dogs scratching at the front door. And then today began with open clear skies and a warm sun. Puddles on the track outside mirroring the blue sky were all that gave testament to the dramas of the previous night.

The river was swollen with rainwater. I brought the rod when I went to look, first at the Guadalhorce and then at the Río Grande in the vague hope that a quiet eddy might have a few fish I could try for. I lowered my rod top into the stained water to test the visibility and it was no more than an inch or two and it soon became clear that fly fishing was a simply not on the cards.

Back at home I realised the dogs´water bowl was empty and when I took it t the kitchen to refill it I discovered a very fine Nattterjack Toad sitting underneath it.

The Natterjack toads (Epidalea calamita) are quite common here but they are nocturnal feeders and so we don´t bump into them very often. They are called Sapo Corredor in Spanish and you can distinguish them from the common toad (Bufo bufo) by a narrow yellow line running along the spine.

It always amazes me to see how successful they are in surviving in a climate which must surely be pretty hostile to amphibians, and yet they thrive. At night they eat insects, often beetles, as they wander around the campo. They reproduce in the spring and need only temporary pools for laying their eggs. Inevitably some of these pools will dry out and the tadpoles die and so, as a form of compensation, the toads have a fairly long breeding season. This toad is found in 17 European countries and is, interestingly, the only toad native to Ireland.

Before he wandered off to find a bit of shade, my little toad sat for his portrait photographs and the results are shown below.


The Natterjack Toad. The pale line on his back can help to distinguish him from the common toad.


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¡Hola Maestro!