12 April 2015

Froglife Amphibian Identification and Survey Training @ Crombie Country Park

Froglife is a charity for amphibians and reptiles covering the whole of the UK that has been going since 1989. On Sunday 12th April we attended one of their amphibian training days at Crombie Country Park in Angus taught by their Scottish Dragon Finder Project Officer James Stead. We have attended training before as part of our volunteer surveying commitment for National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS) but it's always good to get some refresher training now and then! Plus no one surely passes up the opportunity to see some amphibians up close?

The weather was cold but fairly still and sunny. Half the afternoon was theory with some quizzes on identification. The other half was pond dipping for amphibians in a couple of ponds on the estate including the Heron Pond which Froglife has been involved in restoring.

We saw frog spawn but saw no adult frogs. However we did catch quite a newts including this amazing male Palmate Newt (Lissotriton helveticus). He has textbook 'palmate' black feet, tail filament and accentuated colouring on his tummy and flanks. He also has a distinct crest along his back but it's hard to see - the cresting on his tail is easier to see as he moves.