Hey, baby! An American toad calls to attract females at the pond. It’s party time at the pond. For the third time this year. The wood frogs and spring peepers have already taken their turns. Now the toads take over. I estimate their numbers approached 300, and that was mostly the males waiting for females. The females don’t stay as long; they arrive, pair up with a male, lay their eggs, and head back to the woods. The males, on the other hand, apparently wait around for more chances. Either that, or there are 300 males for every one female! Here’s what it looks like when a female arrives at the pond; male suitors grapple for their opportunity to fertilize her eggs externally as she lays them.
I like the featured image at the top of this post for the several reasons. The toad looks like a tiny body builder in this pose. The mating thing takes a lot energy. Energy after a long winter and before insects and other toad food really come out in force. I also like the ripples in the water, created by the vibration of his vocal sack. The sack is not touching the water; those vibrations are traveling through he body of the toad to the water. Power!
The toads are so intent in breeding that they are nearly oblivious to spectators. They do shy briefly when you first approach. But after a minute or two, they go back to what they were doing. Any movement could be a female; they don’t dare miss a chance. This gives great opportunities to capture them on film. (Spring peepers, on the other hand, can see you a mile off and will easily out-wait you!) Both images were taken with a Nikon D90 and a Nikkor 70-300mm AF-S VR ED.