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Amphibian & Reptile Report for 2008

Michael Thompson

It seems to have been a poor breeding season for the common frog, for although individual frog records came in, there were only 3 spawning sites mentioned. Spawning started at Slingsby on 25th February with 12 pairs and continued through to 12th March with up to 50 pairs being present. A second spawning occurred from 20th March with 20 pairs, but in spite of a considerable amount of spawn none developed into tadpoles. Unfortunately, pond alterations occurred during the spawning season in one pond in Slingsby. Spawning occurred at Gilling between 2nd March and 2nd April, but few tadpoles were to be seen. However, there were lots of yearling frogs on the footpaths in Gilling woods from late August to the beginning of September. Spawn was present on Harland Moor on 3rd April. Single frogs were recorded on Ellerburn Bank Reserve on 7th May and Kirkbymoorside on 19th July. A similar under-recording of the common toad occurred during the year. Three males in a Slingsby pond, but with no females on 1st April. However, 3 adults and a juvenile were found under a canvas canopy in the garden later in the year. Toads were reported from Sykes House on 22nd April, and two from South Holme and Kirkbymoorside. Several toads were found under stones on Ellerburn Bank on 7th May. Smooth newts were present in good numbers in the Slingsby pond. A single smooth newt was seen at Whitwell, having emerged from a pond, its appearance of dried skin and atrophied crest making it not unlike a lizard. Missing from the amphibian list are great crested and palmate newts.

Several viviparous lizards were seen at May Moss, but none elsewhere. Three slow worms were uncovered along the falling down boundary wall at Ellerburn Bank Reserve on 7th May, as well as a large, partially eaten one at Gilling. A single adder was observed at Cawthorne and a male and female intertwined mating at Medds Farm, Rosedale West on 15th & 16th May.

Records were submitted by Gill Smith, Tom Denney and Michael Thompson.

© Ryedale N.H.S. 2009

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