Thursday, 7 April 2016

Great Crested Newts

With night time temperatures now reaching a positively balmy 7'C, great crested newt season began in earnest last night. A combination of bottle trapping, torch searches and egg searches means long days, late nights and early mornings. I checked in at my hotel at 23:45 and checked out again at 06:30 following a 12 hour day. As the daylight hours get longer over the next couple of months, the newt nights will get even later and the mornings even earlier, until you wonder if it's even worth returning to the hotel. At least we saw some newts, which isn't always the case. Obviously, everything you see here is fully licenced.

Two male great creasted newts in a bottle trap. Apart from the crests and large size, notice also the white band in the tail and the yellow fingertips. Also in the trap, a couple of beetles and a caddisfly larva.

You can see the crest and the belly of the top newt quite well in this photo.

Male and female palmate newts in an identically sized bottle as a size comparison with great crested.

Male palmate newt. Much smaller than great crested, perhaps only half the size. Notice the webbing between the toes on the back foot.

I noticed this folded leaf floating around on the surface of the water like a little boat. On investigation it turned out to be the handywork of a female great crested newt, which had laid its egg on the leaf and then folded it over for protection.

You can see the egg in this photo.

Here's another great crested newt egg I found on a grass leaf. Unlike frogs and toads, newts lay their eggs singularly.

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