Amphibian health checks

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It's amazing to see these creatures and they're fairly easy to spot if you go out on a wet evening with a torch, either in the countryside or even in cities. So it was rubbish weather - but a great spectacle!

Many people get toads and frogs mixed up, but toads are usually brown in colour, have warty skin and walk instead of hop and that frogs are usually green, do large jumps and hang about more often than not near water. Easy, eh? (I still saw a national newspaper get it wrong this week though.)

Check out our toad species guide.

Want to know what toads sound like?

On a more serious note, there's concern that the UK's amphibian populations are being affected by two serious diseases - ranavirus and the chytrid fungus.

Both these diseases are killing amphibians, which could result in them becoming extinct around the world.

That's why Froglife and the Zoological Society of London have asked that the public to look out for any sick of dying frogs or other amphibians such as toads or newts.

Symptoms could be lethargy, skin lesions or unexplained mass deaths. More information can be found on the Froglife website and the more information gathered the more that can be understood and done to combat the problem.

The house martins have also been busy this week. I counted over 20 perching on the telegraph pole outside my house, all squabbling about. These were probably from one family with youngsters from previous broods still hanging around.

They return every year and are fantastic to watch as they dart about on the river, swiping mayflies just in front of you. I'll be sad when they head off to Africa on their return migration which is only a month or so away.

Here's my top pick of this week's wildlife web:

The USA has some amazing wildlife scientists and they've come together to produce this excellent website following some of the world's most intriguing animals on their migration around the world in real time and as it happens.

And here are some events to look out for:

Bat walk - 4 August, Craig Y Nos visitor centre
Peregrines at Symonds Yat Rock - all week

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