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!