I don’t usually travel as far as Anglesey for work, but occasionally it’s nice to go further afield. This project involved ecological appraisal of two small wastewater treatment works in north west Anglesey. Turning down the lane to the first site, I noticed a large development on the corner, ringed in great crested newt fencing. Fairly big clue to the main ecological concern in this area! Tourists often just visit the island’s spectacular coastline, but inland Anglesey is famous amongst ecologists for its cornucopia of wetlands, from ponds to lakes to internationally important species-rich fens and marshes. And this means great crested newts are frequently found.
Great crested newt photographed in Cheshire in 2014 as part of a licensed survey
Newts are really spiffing little animals, but surveying for them can sometimes be an adventure involving rather too much barbed wire, limbo-ing under fences, climbing over trees and through nettles! This year’s crop of ponds have been mostly quite civilised, though, including one set with a convenient pub nearby 🙂
I’m licensed to survey for great crested newts in both England and Wales and this year I’ve surveyed at three sites in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North Wales. I’ve been lucky enough to see all five widespread British amphibian species at these sites (common toad, common frog, smooth newt, palmate newt and great crested newt). As I’ve also participated in natterjack toad surveys, that means I would only need to tick pool frog to have seen the entire amphibian fauna of the UK. I have no plans to visit Norfolk in the next few months though – too busy! Continue reading
Once again I find myself picking newts out of buckets – this time for a consultancy based in the East Midlands who not surprisingly weren’t keen for their staff to waste hours in the car every morning when they could just ask me to pop over to the site and deal with it instead 🙂 Continue reading
Except there weren’t any newts. Well, one smooth newt, but it was very small.
I found lots of toads though…
A fair chunk of my business comes from friends and former colleagues and most of the time it starts with a random text message or voicemail saying, er, could you possibly go to Newcastle tomorrow, I need someone to pick newts out of buckets. Or take water samples. Or identify plants in January (as long as it’s not snowing, I’m game). I tend not to worry about what I’m doing next week until it gets to at least Thursday lunchtime, as something always comes up…… and this time it was the aforementioned trip to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Continue reading