Jon Cranfield

Archive for the ‘great crested newts’ Category

the record pool online reporting in the UK

In Adders, great crested newts, Observations, Wildlife on October 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm

the network of amphibian and reptile groups in the uk have been recording and reporting the presence and relative abundance of the reptiles and amphibians they see on their surveys. The technology has moved forwards the use of mobile devices and online reporting. The desk top version of the sighting card is demonstrated in the following YouTube video.


Weather has closed in with plenty of rain!

In Garden pond, great crested newts, Observations, the garden pond blog, Wildlife on February 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

My garden pond is getting a good fill of new rainwater. I have ordered a conductivity meter – from the advice given by Jeremy Biggs at the Herpetofauna Workers’ Meeting this year. Hopefully I will get this delivered today. I can then check up on the water in my garden pond – using the right units over the TDS readings – though the meter will also take TDS readings as well.

I have been going back through my data for a survey where I found the largest number of adult newts in a single survey visit. It was 11 years ago at a flood reservoir. The number I counted was 215 adult newts. Probably one of the largest counts of great crested newts in Essex.

During this survey I collected water measurements – including conductivity and I noticed some interesting readings going back through my notes. The conductivity readings ranged from over 500 and during the survey the conductivity went down to below 200 – I suspect when fresh rainwater flooded into the reservoir.

Anglian water flood reservoir

flooded reservoir revealed plenty of newts!


Flooded LNR

Me standing on bridle path in 2003

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.

A mitigation site in Essex

In great crested newts, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on December 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Yesterday I visited a mitigation site for great crested newts, smooth newts, slow-worms, adders, grass snakes & lizards. A group of 6 ponds have been created in compensation for the loss of 2 ponds from a site located close by – in fact southwards over the A127.

The newt receptor site is developing well and has been in place for approx 3 years or so. In 2009/2010 over 3,000 newts were relocated from the ‘donor’ site to the area which is currently fenced in. I am looking to manage the site with the surrounding habitats on behalf of a developer who has had to create this receptor site along with an artificial washland.

I took my TDS meter with me to measure the total dissolved solids within the ponds and in pools of rainwater around the site. We have 6 ponds of various sizes and age in this area (you can see one of them in the photo). The TDS readings were surprising – some were above 400ppm and the middle pond had a TDS reading of less than 20ppm!  I suspect that some of the water draining into these ponds is coming from the former drainage system as outlined in this entry on the garden pond blog

I am planning to create new pond complexes within this area amongst the receptor site ponds – a series of small, medium sized shallow to mid depth ponds over the next year or so

It will be interesting to see how these ponds develop in the future – with a 20 year management agreement I will be able to find out…..