It feels like a late frog season with a lot of stops and starts. I have not heard a chorus of males in our garden yet, but last night the mild wet weather produced the first clump of common frog Rana temporaria spawn in our garden pond. In ten years this is the second earliest date they have started.
The cold weather over the past couple of weeks has rather reduced migration into the pond by amphibians, but there was a lot of movement in the garden last night, and a newt was found squashed on the road outside our house. Maximum count of smooth and palmate newts combined at night is now 38 animals. Its getting difficult to distinguish between the two species because you need to count so quickly, but smooth newts dominate.
Now is a good time to try searching for newts and a torch at night is one of the best methods to see them (and other pondlife) if the water is clear and not too vegetated. Normally rather secretive during the daytime they lose their inhibitions at night and they can be seen feeding, egg laying, and in the case of the males, chasing after females (which lets be honest is what the males spend most of their spring-time doing). The warmer the evening is the more likely you are to see newts - certainly don’t bother if the temperature is lower than 6C. If you want to watch great crested newts this activity requires a licence from Natural England.