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An Essex Wildlife Garden Update!

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2018 at 4:25pm
eDNA kits, think it is expensive and quite involved as one ideally has to do a training course etc. Should look into it really as I can see the benefit of testing without a lot of disturbance. 

Bit here about it:


Last night I put out an artificial egg strip. I'm so intrigued to know if our GCN is laying fertile eggs or not. Effectively a plastic back cut into thin strips which is weighted down in the pond like an artificial plant, which I can leave out and see if she uses it for egg laying. If she does will be able to examine the embryos for signs of development. 
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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Mar 2018 at 5:24pm
Thanks Gemma, yes doesn't look suitable for me from most angles. Thanks for the link. 
Good luck with the plastic strips which I've heard of.
We've had several hours of snow this afternoon with temp of just 2degC - my poor babies in the pond!
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2018 at 11:18pm
Quick update  of goings on in  Essex! Pond is covered in a green goopy froth so hard to see much in there at the moment. It is due a good clean out in the Autumn so  hopefully it will be a bit clearer next year. Released hundreds of tadpoles back already. 

Can't see much due to the green goop, but a couple of clear spots near the edges seem to be teeming with taddies so hopefully all is well. Still have several hundred taddies in trays indoors. Some now almost at froglet stage with front legs. 

Have some odd ones too, I think this is leucism where the pigment layer of the skin fails to develop normally. They seem to be developing OK otherwise, but quite fascinating to be able to see inside them! 


 


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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2018 at 7:57am
Originally posted by GemmaJF GemmaJF wrote:

Quick update  of goings on in  Essex! Pond is covered in a green goopy froth so hard to see much in there at the moment. It is due a good clean out in the Autumn so  hopefully it will be a bit clearer next year. Released hundreds of tadpoles back already. 

Can't see much due to the green goop, but a couple of clear spots near the edges seem to be teeming with taddies so hopefully all is well. Still have several hundred taddies in trays indoors. Some now almost at froglet stage with front legs. 

Have some odd ones too, I think this is leucism where the pigment layer of the skin fails to develop normally. They seem to be developing OK otherwise, but quite fascinating to be able to see inside them! 


 




Ah yes, the appearance of a pond is ever-changing isn't it? Yesterday, i revisited what last year was a stunningly picturesque pond with perfect clarity to the bottom and a wonderful array of aquatic plants including luxuriant, billowing fronds of Water Crowfoot.
There was a 50/50 split of open areas and vegetated, and it had an almost reef-like underwater structure.
All frothy pea soup now!

I've seen those 'see-through' tadpoles too. There wasn't any problem with their development - far as i recall.

Suzi, i'm sure your GCN will still be there. They seem to be the most secretive of the Brit newts, and apart from egg-laying females (at night) don't tend to hang around in the upper part of the water column like smooths and palmates sometimes do.
However, if you watch your pond for long enough, you should see one surface sooner or later. Otherwise, look under logs, stones, paving slabs etc around the garden regularly and you'll likely turn up a yellow-striped juvenile.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2018 at 9:02am
I thought see-through taddies were the norm? One thing I remember as a kid was how you could always see inside them and see the curled intestines etc, it is only now you mention it that I realise all mine are completely black.

Always nice to learn something new...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2018 at 10:31am
Well done with the taddies Gemma! Mine aren't so far advanced. My taddie pond is heavily duckweeded now so hopefully the ones I left in the pond as spawn can thrive under that. I've pushed some duckweed back to give clear water, but it's a losing battle and I don't want to scoop it out for fear of dumping taddies and newt larvae amongst other things.
Yes Ben GCNs are frustrating to have. I've spent many hours recently pond watching, with no luck. Mind you there are places with overhanging vegetation that they could surface unseen. If they are in the small pond the duckweed will hide them.
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2018 at 11:53am
I'm fairly sure our GCN has moved on now Suz, but as Ben says, they do tend to bottom lurk and prowl about so it's not like seeing smaller newt species regularly swimming about mid-water and at the surface. So possible our GCN are still in the depths and we just can't see them. 

Down the years though I have recorded GCN in all sorts of small water bodies that are not very 'text book', it was pretty clear they were there foraging for smaller newt species. So I've a feeling our GCN was foraging rather than planning to stay for a long time. In all she was definitely there for 20 days, time will tell and just another mystery to solve in an Essex wildlife garden! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2018 at 12:23pm
The Great Escape! Good job I purchased trays with lids Wink


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2018 at 1:29pm
Were these all indoor reared Gemma? A good show whatever way.
I did a pond dip or two earlier and scooped up some taddies and a male palmate. The taddies aren't huge, but about the size of my ones in containers. 
If GCNs predate other newts then there is certainly enough palmates to keep them going here. In the past few days I've started seeing biggish newt larvae (last year's I guess) and mid sized newts as well. 
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2018 at 6:50pm
Yep indoor reared Suz, most have gone back into the pond at various stages of development, but this lot are the advanced party, taken right up to froglet stage and then released.

Decided to have a bit of a clear out of pond weed this afternoon, just so we have a clear bit where we sit. Plenty of taddies and smooth newts and loads of dragonfly larva. Didn't see any newt larva here yet despite having a good sift through all the weed. Decided to leave the weed piled up by the pond. Noticed in the past that rotting pond weed attracts lots of small flies, so leaving it there may provide food for the froglets when they are released.




Edited by GemmaJF - 21 Apr 2018 at 6:51pm
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