Thursday, 31 March 2011

Toads and Newts Playing Chicken

March 2011 in Yorkshire has been one of the driest on record, therefore a bit of rain on the 30th meant there was likely to be a big movement of Common Toads Bufo bufo. At two local reservoirs, toads have to cross roads and then negotiate their way round, through or over stone walls, to get to the breeding site, often resulting in carnage. So last night armed with a bucket and torch i went out on a rescue mission. At the first reservoir at 8pm, toads were already on the move and I picked up about 50, there were already a few casualties.

Amplexus in Common Toad Bufo bufo © Carl Corbidge

Moving on up to the next reservoir i expected more toads plus a few Palmate Newts Lissotriton helviticus crossing as well. 30 minutes later I had another 50 toads in the bucket, along with 50 Palmates and 3 Common Frog Rana temporaria. Again about 20 toads and 10 newts had fallen victim to traffic.

Common Toads and Palmate Newts © Carl Corbidge

One of the nights victims male Palmate Newt Lissotriton helviticus © Carl Corbidge

Female Palmate Newt Lissotriton helviticus © Carl Corbidge

Male Palmate Newt Lissotriton helviticus © Carl Corbidge

Female Common Frog Rana temporaria © Carl Corbidge

The lucky ones (female with strange blotch of pigment) © Carl Corbidge

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Another Good Day in the North

On Sunday the 27th March myself and fellow herper Matt Wilson decided to investigate a new site about 30 miles north of our regular Adder spot. We were also joined briefly by Andrew Gray who wanted to see his first Adders of the year. The forecast of white cloud wasn't the best, but as we arrived at the site hazy sunshine broke through. In quite a small isolated area we quickly found 3 males Adders Vipera berus.

The first Male Adder Vipera berus © Carl Corbidge

The second Male Adder Vipera berus © Carl Corbidge

The third Male Adder Vipera berus © Carl Corbidge

Moving on, we went to a site with a thriving population of Alpine Newts Ichtoysaura alpestris. However these are an introduced species native to Western Europe, France etc. When searching for newts, torches at night proves most profitable, however we found 1 male, along with a Palmate Newt Lissotriton helviticus, 2 Common Toads Bufo bufo and Spawn of Common Frog.

Alpine Newt Ichtoysaura alpestris © Carl Corbidge

Alpine Newt Ichtoysaura alpestris © Carl Corbidge

Sunday, 20 March 2011

First Lizard of the Year and a few Adders

For the third Saturday running I have been out surveying Adders (Vipera Berus). I started in a new area but failed to find any so i moved on to another area. On the 5th I found 5 in this area but today there was an additional 2 making 7, and all males. Interestingly one individual had moved from its original spot and joined 2 more 200 metres away. Also today was my first Viviparous Lizard (Zootoca vivipara) of the year, a nice greenish/blue individual a colour morph which is not uncommon in the area.

    Male Adder Vipera berus © C. Corbidge

Male Adder Vipera berus © C Corbidge

Viviparous Lizard Zootoca vivipara © C Corbidge

Same © C. Corbidge

As the weather warms up lizards should become more active and the male adders will be joined by females.