April was quite a month of extremes in terms of weather, but nature has a way of forging on regardless whilst most of us humans are struggling to cope.
The great crested newts are a good example, having overwintered near to the pond under stones or vegetation, they returned to the pond in Jubilee Wood to mate and lay eggs. If you were lucky enough to see them earlier on in the month, you might have been surprised at just how many there were, but if you didn’t get to see them we’ve attached some photos taken at the pond. Apologies for the quality but you have to take the opportunity when you can and although these photos taken with a phone may not be the best, they give an idea of their form and colour.
Spotting the newts may take a couple of minutes before you recognise them as they tend to look like dark bits of small vegetation floating under the water’s surface until you see them suddenly shoot along, splaying out their legs and waggling their tails. The males have more of a crest during the mating season and females lay individual eggs on plant leaves and carefully wrap them up to protect them. Two to four weeks later larvae (sometimes called newt tadpoles) will hatch out with feathery gills around the head, distinguishing them from frog and toad tadpoles. A couple of months after they hatch the larvae start to grow their front legs followed by the back legs. Later on in the summer they’ll leave the pond but will stay close by to find a place to overwinter, and next Spring it will all begin again…….wonderful!
The Woodland Walker.