Spring is busting out in Bonn Be careful not to run over a toad on the road

Bonn · In Bad Godesberg, the first toads are migrating to their spawning grounds. A road in Heiderhof has been specially closed. And there are even more signs that spring is on the way.

A toad on the move in the city.

A toad on the move in the city.

Foto: Pixabay/Dennis Seiffert

The crocuses and snowdrops are bursting into bloom and the toads are making their perilous way along the roads to their spawning grounds. As in previous years, the municipality has made it easier for them by closing a road on Heiderhof’s Philosophenring. Motorists and buses have to take a detour.

Spring is in the air a bit earlier this year, but there is no need to worry, at least as far as plants are concerned, says Markus Radscheit, technical director of the Botanical Gardens in Bonn. "It's really starting now."

With temperatures of 17 degrees on Friday, creatures are emerging from their winter hiding places. At this time of year, it’s particularly important to protect amphibians, as they are "one of the most endangered species in Europe", says Anke Breuer from the Nature Conservation Authority UNB. "The populations of these animals have been declining for many years. Almost entire populations can die within a few days, especially on the road. This is why it is important to allow the animals to spawn in the waters."

The route to a spawning site needs to be safe, which is why 100 metres of Philosophenring between Fichtestraße and Nietzschestraße will be blocked until April. Buses will take a different route. Some drivers were surprised on Friday, but then turned round. "It’s not a problem for me," said one empathetic resident. It is a ring road anyway, linked to the Heiderhofring from two sides. Residents can simply use the other side to access their homes.

Species in need of special protection are always on the move at Heiderhof: common toads, spring frogs and grass frogs as well as newts and alpine newts. It is not permitted to catch, injure or kill them. Christian Chmela, head of the Bonn/Rhine-Erft Biological Station, observed years ago that the number of animals is decreasing. No one knows why. But amphibian populations have always been subject to strong fluctuations. At the Heiderhof, things start quite early every year because that is when the agile frog (Rana dalmatina) sets off on its journey.

Frogs, toads and amphibians are protected along other roads too. Since last year, they have been able to reach the other side of Pützchens Chaussee in Beuel safely through a tunnel set up for them, the city council points out. Also, the Biological Centre (biologische Station) is putting up temporary fences again, for example in Beuel. "They prevent the animals from crossing the road. The amphibians fall into buckets buried at ground level and volunteers carry them to the other side every day," says Yasmin Kalkan from the city's press office.

Heiderhofer Philosophenring is closed due to the toad migration.

Heiderhofer Philosophenring is closed due to the toad migration.

Foto: Richard Bongartz

The city administrations says that caution is also needed in Annabergerstraße in Friesdorf, on the Finkenberg (Finkenbergstraße), in Steinbruchweg in Limperich, in Burghofstraße in Oberholtorf, on the main road at Holzlarer See, along Villiper Allee in Röttgen and in Nachtigallenweg in Poppelsdorf.

Another early sign of spring is the be found at the Nutzgarten on the corner of Carl-Troll-Straße and Friedrich-Hirzebruch-Allee in Friesdorf. It’s an almond tree (Prunus Dulcis) that blossoms every year on Rosenmontag. "You can set the clock by it," says Markus Radscheit.

 Spring is busting out all over: a squirrel in a meadow full of crocuses.

Spring is busting out all over: a squirrel in a meadow full of crocuses.

Foto: Pixabay/garten-gg

According to Radscheit, the recent cold spell stimulated the plants and fooled them into thinking there had been a harsh winter. Now it’s become warmer "they are happy". Phenologically, i.e. in terms of the periodic course of the year, it is fine that things are already sprouting now. The expert is referring in particular to the snowdrops and crocuses. And in case anyone is wondering about the first tree blossoms on Maxstrasse in Bonn: There are certain Japanese flowering cherries there, he says, which already show their colour in winter.

(Original text: Richard Bongartz; Translation: Jean Lennox)

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