As a wildlife photographer, I’m always on the lookout for interesting creatures to photograph in my backyard. One animal I regularly see each summer is the Fowler’s Toad. These stocky, bumpy toads with golden eyes are a common sight here in the eastern United States.
Last summer in June, I got a great shot of a Fowler’s Toad sunning itself amid the pine needles in my yard. It had not rained recently, but the toad seemed to enjoy resting on the dry needles. I have to be careful when mowing not to run over any toads or frogs hiding in the grass and pine needles!
Fowler’s Toads are most active at night when they hunt for insects, worms, and other small invertebrates. During the day, they seek shelter under rocks, logs, or vegetation. Their mottled brown and gray coloration provides good camouflage against the soil and leaf litter.
This year, something strange is going on. We’re now in the heart of summer, and I haven’t seen a single Fowler’s Toad! Just the other day, I did spot a Leopard Frog while mowing. But no Fowler’s Toads.
I’m not sure why I haven’t seen any this summer. It’s possible the local Fowler’s Toad population is declining. Amphibians are very sensitive to environmental changes, pollution, and habitat loss. I hope that is not the case here. Perhaps the unusually hot, dry weather has caused them to stay hidden. Or maybe I just haven’t been lucky enough to cross paths with one of these well-camouflaged toads yet.
I’m going to pay close attention when I’m outside and see if any Fowler’s Toads make an appearance later this summer.
- Camera: Fujifilm X-T3
- Lens: Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II (attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro)
- Location: Lavaca (Arkansas)
- Date and Time Taken: June 6, 2021 (10:43 A. M.)
- Aperture Priority
- Aperture: f7.1
- Shutter speed: 1/600 (as determined by the camera)
- ISO: 1600
- Exposure Compensation: -0.3
- Focal Length: 400 mm