PondNet amphibian survey workshop

Twelve amphibian-hunters gathered at Moore Nature Reserve to search for newt eggs and, later, to stalk their prey by night using strong torches (!).  PondNet organised the event for local volunteer surveyors so that we could all familiarise ourselves with newt eggs and what newts look like underwater, to help us survey our allocated ponds.  Moore Nature Reserve has a known population of great crested newts, so we arrived hopeful that we would see at least one, and ideally some eggs as well.

I was the only professional surveyor out of the volunteer group, so guess who was first to find great crested newt eggs ?  That’s right ! Me.  I almost feel embarrassed by how easy it was; I literally went straight up to the pond edge and said, ‘here’s some’.  I suppose it’s nice to remind myself that I do actually know what I’m doing…. but it’s easy enough when the ponds are this good.

Later, after discussing health and safety when surveying and egg, net and torch survey techniques, we headed back to the ponds to look for great crested newts active in the ponds at night.  Although it was pretty cold, we were successful and I saw at least two definite great crested newts and one possible one – it was hiding in the reeds – as well as a male smooth newt.  Both great crested newts were male and showing their white tail flash nicely, although it would have been nice if they’d stayed put to be photographed 😦  Here, instead, is a photo from a previous survey of a nice male in the hand showing the white tail flash.

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Thanks to PondNet for the opportunity and to Moore Nature Reserve for hosting.

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