Newts

13th September 2011, Tuesday

The standard way to find newts at this time of year is to turn over a piece of wood or a stone to see if animals are sheltering underneath.  This short log was productive, sheltering 6 smooth newts and one great crested newt this week, near the Cladium Pit.

Newts under log

The great crested newt is the large black amphibian – note the characteristic yellow rings on the digits and the greater size of this species. The smooth newts are more typically a pale sandy yellow to brown at this time of year.  Interestingly two of them were located within piles of chewed wood, the pale yellow material in the photo, produced by an invertebrate using the logs.  I very much prefer careful stacking of logs on damaged shingle rather than burning such material if it is cut, providing other valuable shingle features are not damaged of course.

 Terrestrial great crested newt and smooth newt

One of the interesting points about this pit is that smooth newts can be unusally easy to spot during the day.  They can frequently be observed wealking over the shingle, moving back into the cracks between the flints if disturbed, especially if it is damp.  Whether this is occurs around other ponds is difficult to say because they are usually surrounded by dense vegetation.  This one has large areas of bare shingle, offering lots of crevices, but also making newts easily visible if they go for a wander during the day.