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Amphibian & Reptile Report for 2009

by Michael Thompson

Within Ryedale eight of our twelve native species of amphibian and reptile can be found, namely the common or smooth newt, the palmate and great crested newts, the common frog and toad, the slow worm, the common or viviparous lizard and the adder. The grass snake was present in former times. Not every year are these species recorded, as seems to be the case in 2009; there have not been any records in recent years of an alien species. The common frog had a favourable breeding season, with recorders reporting traditional breeding ponds, ditches and new sites heaving with mating frogs. Spawn was plentiful with tadpoles subsequently seen in good numbers. In the middle of the breeding season, that started at the end of February to the middle of March, ice from frost formed on the water’s surface, but it did not make any difference. Breeding frogs were recorded from Swinton on 21st February, Slingsby, Welburn, Kirkbymoorside, Hutton-le-Hole Folk Museum with 20 mating pairs on 16th March, Gilling lake and woods, Ampleforth College, Oswaldkirk, Welburn, a moorland pond at Rosedale east on 20th March, and Sykes House pond was full of tadpoles on 25th April. In a pond on Middleton Moor 33 frogs were counted on 15th March. Hundreds,if not thousands, of froglets were reported in Gilling woods subsequently in July.

Common toads were recorded from Ampleforth College, several seen within Kirkbymoorside, Sykes House pond, South Holme at the end of October, Slingsby, and one at Whitwell. Generally, toads were under recorded. Only one record was received for the smooth newt where good numbers were present in a traditional smooth newt pond in Slingsby. Palmate newts were seen in a ditch at Gilling in May.

Of the reptiles, a female adder was sighted at Rodedale east on 5th May basking and another in Gilling woods in July. Three slow worms were seen in the vicinity of Sykes House during March and April, and also one in Gilling woods.

Records were received from Andrea Cooper, Tom & Janet Denney, Gill Smith, Keith Dixon, Michael Thompson and entries on the Society’s web site.

© Michael Thompson & Ryedale Natural History Society 2010 Back to the Annual Report Contents and Home page