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by Michael Thompson
Common frogs arrived at our pond in Slingsby at the beginning of March, and produced a lot of spawn: inititally I estimated that there were 50 pairs present. Few of the eggs metamorphosed into froglets; some spawn was taken by carrion crows, some was obviously not fertilised, and others died off because of late frosts – so all in all not a very successful breeding season. [None of the spawn which I collected to put in my pond hatched either. Ed.]
Toads paired up two or three weeks later, and for the first time, produced a small amount of their string-like spawn.
Compared with 1999 smooth newts were present in greater numbers, and had a good season, some of them feeding on frog tadpoles.
Frogs were reported from Gilling on 10th March crossing a path to get to the middle lake in the woods, and from Fadmoor. Toads were recorded at Park House, Gilling and a fully-grown adult (not in hibernation) in a greenhouse in Kirkbymoorside in October.
Two species of reptile were recorded during the year – a slow worm from the edge of Park Wood, Gilling in May, and one from Fadmoor; and three common or viviparous lizards on a small limestone escarpment overlooking Cockerdale Farm, seen on the YNU excursion in June. One of them was pregnant.
[Records from Gill Smith, Andrea Cooper, Janet and Tom Denney and Michael Thompson, our recorder for this group.]