Rod d’Ayala organised a visit to BBOWT’s Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre (SCEEC) on the evening of Saturday 2nd June for a dusk walk and nocturnal newt survey. Newts are most active at night and best seen by torchlight. Unfortunately the weather was not kind and the persistent rain at the start of the evening continued to persist – making the post-dusk torchlight survey impossible (newts don’t like the disturbance to the pond surface caused by rain). The bottle traps set overnight (and emptied in the morning) caught 9 Smooth and 3 Great Crested Newts from the largest of the ponds on site (Education Pond) and 6 Great Crested Newts from the smaller Newt Pond. Of note was a single Frog tadpole caught in one of the bottle traps – a species that has only just re-colonised the site after many years absence, being first seen to breed again in 2011. For the record, a replacement torching survey was undertaken a few days later giving an idea of the number of newts that might have been seen if conditions had been better. In the Education Pond 9 Great Crested and 37 Smooth Newts were seen – and in the Newt Pond 21 Great Crested and 20 Smooth Newts.
Report by Rod d’Ayala
picture by Ian Duddle