Sunday, 10 April 2011

FARG at the launch of the North Blackpool Pond Trail

FARG was invited to the launch of the North Blackpool Pond Trail. Not surprisingly the ponds are home to a large number of amphibians. member Alan brought his touch tray of animals which included a Frog and Toad as well as several smooth newts. Tadpoles a plenty were joined by 3-spined Sticklebacks and a variety of inverts such as a dragonfly nymph (Brown Hawker?) on the point of thinking about emerging to metomorphose in to an sdlult, a huge Great Diving Beetle. A supporting cast of backswimming Water boatmen, Caddis fly larvae and Ramshorn snails...a great selection of the local aquatic wildlife and very popular with all the visitors during the day.

Two male Smooth Newts vied for dominance and the female in the tray.
One seemed to be the boss and the other became an escape artist

Note the differences between male and female Smooth Newts - easy to tell apart at this time of year. The female is gravid with eggs and the male is in his splendid spotty spring finery.
The male has slightly webbed feet and lobed toes, just visible in the picture, but far less so than Palmate Newts and lacks the thin wisp of a tail filament. We hope to get a picture of this fairly rare species in Fylde soon.
FARG welcomes volunteers who would like to help survey the Fylde's ponds and wetlands for amphibians and other areas for reptiles. Get in touch at the email address in the side-bar if you would like to get involved.
There is a training course in Bispham next Saturday, 16th April - lunchtime until 9pm for some torch surveying, with a break for an evening meal. Please let us know if you would like a place on the course.

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