Jon Cranfield

great crested newts…..

In Garden pond, great crested newts, Observations, Wildlife on February 6, 2011 at 7:47 am

Checking my parents ponds last night. After dark using a torch a standard amphibian survey method. The method is going to be used in the Great Easter Newt Hunt this year. The event is being organised by the ARG UK & ARC Trust and is supported by Pond Conservation.

Pond Conservation run the Big Pond Dip and over the last two winters the Big Pond Thaw Survey. The Newt Hunt is intended to link in with both surveys.
Last night was very windy but mild with an air temp of around 12C. My Parents have two main ponds and two small ponds made out of two sinks.

The top pond has fish while the others do not. No newts were seen in the top pond. In the bottom pond a fair few great crested newts were spotted along with smooths and alpines.

The small sunken sink ponds produced three smooth newts.

In contrast to these ponds my own is small and shallow and has no amphibians as yet. I am hoping that frogs will be attracted eventually to the warm shallows.

My parents ponds have deterrents to frogs but not what you might assume. The main deterrent for frogs is the presence of great crested newts. There is evidence that frogs avoid pond with heavy populations of newts particularly great crested.

With the lost of small shallow ponds in the countryside due to drainage and agriculture. Frogs are making do with garden ponds.

My parents ponds are well stocked with great crested newts possibly from the local nature reservoir which has the largest number of newts recorded in the county. In April 2000 a torch count of 215 was recorded.

  1. Alpines? as in alpine newts? I heard there were colonies in the UK, is this one of them?

    • There are several colonies in Essex – mostly in garden ponds where animals have been introduced – there are some free living colonies as well.

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