Cold nocturnal wanderings…

On Friday evening after dark I had a quick search around some ponds about an hour from where I live. It was still rather cold (4C) so I wasn’t expecting too much. First was an old water trough that contained a single Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus). After this I searched around some larger ponds I had spotted on Google earth, the first contained a single Common frog (Rana temporaria), and to my surprise the second pond contained a single female Common toad (Bufo bufo) which is one of the earliest toads I have seen in North England. At the final pond I spotted several Great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) on land making their way to the breeding pond, mostly males but also a female swollen with eggs. Oddly the males had already began to develop their crests before they had entered the water, something I didn’t realize they did. After about an hour or so of searching, I called it a night, quite happy with my amphibian observations, for a very cold night without rain that is!

An early Common toad (Bufo bufo) (C) Matt Wilson

An early Common toad (Bufo bufo) (C) Matt Wilson

Male Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) clambering across a muddy field to reach her breeding pond (C) Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson

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