28 May 2012

Froglife and Newts on Springwatch!

The newts on Hampton Nature Reserve have had some special guests. As well as all the volunteers and staff helping with the Big Newt Count 2012, Martin Hughes-Games and the Springwatch film crew popped along to film the animals.

A male Great Crested Newt gets ready for his screen debut
Froglifers Paul Furnborough and Silviu Petrovan showed the BBC team around the incredible lunar-landscape of the former brick pit, and introduced them to some of the Great Crested Newts for which the site is famous. Home to an estimated 30,000 Great Crested Newts at the last count, this is one of the largest known populations of the animals in Europe and they are counted every 5 years to monitor population size.
Watch out for Paul and his hat with presenter Martin looking for newts 
“The Big Newt Count involves going out on spring evenings with powerful torches to look in the ponds and spot the animals,” explains Paul. “The males do a dance with their tails, wafting pheromones towards the females and showing off their white tail flash in the water. This gives the surveyors a good chance of seeing the animals. We had loads of help from volunteers who worked really hard to get the survey finished ahead of schedule.”
Underwater filming
Froglife is also asking anyone who spots a Great Crested Newt in their pond to be part of the Big Garden Newt Count online survey. There are a few simple questions about the newts you have seen, the pond and your garden, with the opportunity to send some pictures of your sightings and your pond. All the data will be shared with record centres to help build a better picture of how newts fairing in our gardens.

Hampton Nature Reserve is just outside Peterborough, and you can find out more about this special site here
• The UK is home to three native species of newts, and ID tips to distinguish the Great Crested from the Smooth and Palmate species can be found on the Froglife website by clicking on the links
If you have spotted a newt in your garden, please take part in the Big Garden Newt Count here
• You can also join our Great Crafted Newt Competition on our website here!

Froglife manages Hampton Nature Reserve near Peterborough on behalf of O&H Hampton Ltd.

Photos: Silviu Petrovan


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