Newts, newts, newts!

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Newts, newts, newts!

Postby Anyanka on Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:12 pm

I've only seen one or two in the daytime, but last night I decided to shine a torch into the pond. Dozens and dozens of newts!!! Most of them looked quite small, possibly last year's youngsters.

Also spotted a frog and two toads. When can we expect the toadspawn?
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Postby kaz on Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:53 pm

You did well with newts last year!?! Since filling in my old concrete pond, I've not seen any newts :(.
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Postby alison on Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:42 pm

Lucky You. :P I am so jealous. I had a couple when I first started but again like Kaz when I did this last pond none have been seen since I finished the waterfall. I went with the children to Lotherton Hall which is a nearby kind of small stately home with a bird garden and some Deer and in the grounds there is a smallish formal pond. Rectangular shape. Over the winter it had looked really neglected. It was too full of pondweed that I thought nothing could live in it. It was well murky but a couple of fish seemed to be swimming round. Well when we went this week. What a difference.!! It was clear as a bell and most of the weed just down on the bottom of the pond. There was a large mound of frogspawn quite a few weeks old as it had got to the dirtylooking stage at the far end of the pond. There were lots of small goldfish a couple of inches long, a golden orf some tench I think, and lots of small dark coloured fish. There were no frogs about but suddenly we saw two couples of toads and when I peered to where I had seen a toad on it's own I noticed the loveliest black pearl necklaces which she had just laid. How brilliant. It was my first encounter with toad spawn and there was loads of it in the long strings they lay in. I was thrilled and the girls were so happy they wanted to stay there all day. Then Bethany noticed a newt as well so that just made my day.
Talking of toads I think they come a few weeks after the frogs usually (to answer your question).
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Postby dampflippers on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:59 am

I am please t announce that the smooth newts I helped rescue from a school pond (the school was to be demolished) have returned to my pond and are busy laying eggs.
Yesterday in the sun I was stood watching and I spotted 2 females laying eggs. At night with a torch I see more, but as the ponds are pretty full of weed, they are quite difficult to spot. I must make sure I thin the plants out the autumn....too late now.
I want to try to get some good photos now I finally have a digitsl camera, but I'm on crutches with a skiing knee, so it's not very easy to get in the right position.
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Postby alison on Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:59 am

Hope you soon recover Damp. How lovely to know that not only have you rescued the newts but that they appreciate it by laying eggs for you. :lol:
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Postby kaz on Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:42 pm

What is it with the demolishment of schools :?. We've lost one round here too!

Lucky you damp to have an opportunity to rescue some newts... I wonder where mine have disappeared to :?

The skiing accident... did it happen at the start or end of the holiday?
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Postby dampflippers on Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:05 pm

I did my knee in at the end of the fourth day, so I missed 2 days which wasn't too bad.
My newts are still there, and if I'm patient I can usually spot a couple in both ponds (fish free and stickleback).
I've forgotten whether I mentioned I spotted a baby in one of the buckets, but I don't know if this overwintered from last year, or whether it was from he plants I put in this year.
I hope yours come back sometime Kaz (when they have forgiven you!). Have you checked at night? Or looked for folded leaves?

If anyone wonders whether they have the right kind of plants, you can provide an artificial egg laying medium. Get a piece of bin liner, cut it into one cm or quarter inch strips but leave the ends joined together. Roll it up so it is like a seaweed plant, tie it to a stone and put at edge of pond. Length needs to be 6 inches to a foot, or even 2 or 3 inches- it depends how deep the edge of your pond is. I suppose you could even drape it in over the edge, but you'd have to be sure it wouldn't blow away.
Alternatively, if you have baby forgetmenot plants, but the leaves aren't underwater, tie a few together, tie to a stone and position so just below the surface. Folded ends will be very visible.
After a few days, you can carefully remove the seaweed plant and inspect for eggs.

Good luck!
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Postby Ponddipperdave on Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:51 pm

Hi all,
That's a good idea Damp, although I've never tried it myself.
In my Ponddipping days, the best place to find newts was under old plastic bags left in the mud. You also find Toads and Leeches.

Guess what, picking up the old crisp packets tossed over the hedge by schoolchildren, Four frogs ! two in one packet. Each packet had a few inches of dew inside them. Please remember this if you tend to skewer your litter.

I have found about six or seven baby newts overwintered in my Newt Nursery. They were pitch black in colour but still had their frilly gills.
My Newt Nursery is one of those four foot long plastic Window planters filled with water and a few plants.

Dave :)
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Postby alison on Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:55 pm

Talking of leeches are they okay in the pond? I turned a stone over in the pond the other day and amongst the creepycrawlies there appeared to be what looked like a few leeches. I didn't know what to do about them. Can anyone tell me if they are to be avoided at all costs or if they are good for the pond. I left them where they were.
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Postby Ponddipperdave on Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:50 pm

I think they feed mainly on snails.
They're natural in a wildlife pond.
I don't know about you fishkeepers though !

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Postby retropwr on Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:05 pm

I don't think the leeches are generally a problem. I was told that the ones we commonly see in our ponds tend to feed on the waste on the bottom rather than the animals.

I've got them in my pond and filter as well. Whenever I clean the filter foam the bucket I use usually has a few left in the bottom after it's emptied. I've only had one occasion during the weekly summer cleaning of them attaching themselves to my hand :shock:
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Postby alison on Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:51 pm

I must admit that I didn't want to touch them in case they attached themselves to me. I will leave them where they are under the stone and hope the fish are all safe. It is amazing what gets into our ponds. :lol:
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Postby dampflippers on Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:21 pm

I have decided it was an overwintered baby that I found. I found a baby at "eyelash" stage today in the pond. I had forgotten that is what they look like. I have decided the best way to look for babies is not with a net but just by dipping in a clear coleslaw type tub (actually I think it was an egg mayo tub).
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Postby Ponddipperdave on Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:21 pm

Join the club Damps,
My ideal tub is the Sainsbury's Syrup Sponge tub
Where would we be without all this Supermarket packaging ! :smt098

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