Sunday, 15 March 2015

Disappointment at the allotment pond

Mother's Day and other appointments meant only two members of FARG were able to go to the allotment site where there is a substantial pond. At this time of year we like to clear the remains of last year's vegetation from around the refugia along the north bank so that sunlight and hence warmth can get to them and also it means on subsequent visits we can lift them to see what might be hiding beneath.
The first one was easy to find and soon cleared ready for a lift. Just one Frog jumped out. There was little else apart from a few dead Brown lipped banded snails. We had hoped for some Ground beetles or fresh signs of Short tailed field voles and maybe a frog or a Toad or two but it wasn't to be.
The second proved  harder to find hidden under the fallen rushes but was duly cleared and lifted, no amphibians at all at this one only a couple of millipedes and no sign of any other activity. We did disturb a small Plume Moth of an unknown species while cutting the overhanging vegetation away.
A check round the margins of this side of the pond showed that no spawn had been laid yet.
Continuing along the bank to the next two refugia these again were cleared and inspected to find nothing at all beneath apart from a small number of dead snails and the remains of last summers vole nests again.
Once all the trimming works were finished we walked the full circuit of the pond and confirmed there was no spawn to be found.
Some of the aquatic vegetation is almost reaching the surface and we are hopeful that once the weather warms up again there will be a mass spawning of frogs, toads and Newts.
Around the pond area all was pretty quiet with only a flock of Long tailed tits in the large trees along the road embankment being noted,a look at the nearby ditch didn't give any indication that Water voles are still present access for viewing is very restricted from this side so we might have to try getting into the field on the far bank. Otherwise only few Blackbirds being noted, a male at the allotment gates was seen carrying a small beakful of food.
It will be worth having another conservation day towards the end of next month and we'll try to remove as much if the Greater reedmace that has appeared as we can. It will also be time to survey for newt eggs. Watch this space for details of the date, do come along it you can.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

This year's season is getting underway

Welcome back everyone after the long winter break.

The last few days have seen the first frogs returning to garden ponds on the Fylde. Please use the box on the side-bar to record yours. It might sound a bit trivial recording such common animals as Frogs and Toads but you never know when that information may be of use in the future. And at the present time we seem to know more about the whereabouts of our Great crested newts than we do our commoner species.

Weather permitting there will be a vegetation clearing day around the Grass snake refugia at Cherry Tree Allotments next Sunday, yes we do know it's Mother's Day - all welcome! I'll announce news of when and where to meet later in the week when I have confirmation.

If anyone has any records of grass snakes in the Fylde please let us know, they should be coming out of hibernation shortly. Maybe you've found leathery eggs in your compost heap or a bit of shed skin - any photos would be gratefully received too.

Hopefully we'll be announcing a morning Common lizard watch/search at St Anne's dunes in about a month's time, watch this space.

Here's a couple of dodgy frog shots from my pond last night - I'm sure you can do better, send them in for sharing please.
Not sure if I've seen a frog spy-hopping like an Orca before

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

FARG member in NW Wales sand lizard release

FARG member Ray has just sent through these pictures from the recent sand lizard release scheme in North Wales
Picture of Ruth from Chester Zoo and typical habitat
Preparing animals for release, the only pic in the sun though it did come out again in the afternoon

Bank where some of the animals were released.
One on its way
A young Herpetologist in the making
Another shot of where animals were released
Recording the sex prior to release

Forming an orderly queue it was a good turnout and everyone wanted to release one
Waiting to go - what lies ahead?
The small one is about 10 days old, the larger ones are about 6 weeks old, shows how much growth can happen in a few weeks
He says "In total  140 lizards have now been released at this site leaving only 10 for next year (may be a few more) not sure where the next reintroduction will be"

Hopefully it will be our own sand dune system, the habitat doesn't look much different to that in the pictures above.