Following on from Laura’s amphibian blog last week I thought I would share my own experience of dragon hunting! Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a training course run by Froglife on the ecology and identification of the amphibian species we have in Britain. I travelled to Gartcosh in North Lanarkshire where all three newt species can be found as well as good populations of frogs and toads.
We started while it was still light, looking around the edges of the ponds for any clumps of spawn or any individuals hiding in the water. While lamping on the edges of the ponds we caught glimpses of smooth and palmate newts as well as plenty of tiny young newts (known as efts or metamorphs!). As it got darker we moved to another pond and got a bit of practice netting! After a few attempts I seemed to get the hang of it and on my next one I dredged up a few small newts and to my delight a young adult male great crested newt! I was overjoyed and once we had safely placed him in a tray of water I managed to get a few photos of him. As you can see it is a young male as the distinctive crest on his back is still small, though this will become much bigger as he ages.
If you are interested in finding out more about Britain’s amphibians or the work Froglife carry out, download their brilliant free ‘Dragon Finder’ app! It is packed full of useful information and allows you to record your own amphibian and reptile sightings. I have been out using the app over the past week here on the reserve and at home and learning lots more about the amazing species we have in Britain. Why not put your amphibian identification skills to the test!
Bye for now!
Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger