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by Michael Thompson
Smooth newts had a successful year, with numerous pairs breeding in our pond at Slingsby. The first males arrived on 11th March, their crests not fully developed. Soon they were joined by the females and courtship displays followed. By the end of August most had migrated out of the pond, this year’s young being the last to go. They were also recorded around the lakes in the Gilling area. A resident of Fryton bought me an adult smooth newt on 1st August, under the impression she had caught a lizard. In August, until they go into hibernation, smooth newts are very mobile and can be mistaken for a viviparous lizard. Elsewhere, common frogs bred in good numbers, especially in some of the lakes and ponds around Gilling, with numerous tadpoles present in late May and early June. By the beginning of July there were lots of froglets hopping about around lake verges. In our pond at Slingsby, over 50 pairs laid spawn in mid-April, but quite soon it all seemed to disappear, the cause of which was not clear. However, by mid-July a few fully metamorphosed frogs were seen around the pond. A few common toads were present, and are often found all the year round in the garden. Two adult toads were found in Sykes House garden in May.
At Sykes House, on the edge of the North York Moors, a slow worm was recorded in July and a viviparous lizard in September.
[Mammal, reptile and amphibian records were received from Gill Smith, Janet & Tom Denney, Michael Bliss, Jim Pewtress and Michael Thompson.]