Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

09-04-2015 Amphibians and butterflies

Egg hunt anyone?
I hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter, it’s been a quite week at the uni, the undergraduates are off for revision week  before they start their exams, however we are still conducting wildlife surveys and there are a few new and old ones for volunteers to get involved with.

Pond survey in progress at Kingston Hill
We’ve been conducting amphibian surveys at Kingston Hill – I'm hoping that we find Palmate Newts on the site as they tend to be under-recorded in London. During the night survey, I thought I caught a glimpse of a male Palmate Newt, but it was too brief for a conclusive ID.
Over 60 newts found in the morning
We found lots to smooth newts in the pond as well as seeing the frog spawn close to hatching. We also had one diving beetle species in the trap with the newts - suspected to be a Great Diving Beetle (Dytiscus marginalis) despite the lack of the cream banding around the head of the beetle.
 If anyone can confirm the identification post your answers below.
Male and female smooth newt, more brightly coloured males work to attract the females

Checking for pigmentation in the chin to see if its a Palmate or Smooth female newt

The bright colours of the male newts appear muted out of water
Hatched and predated  frog spawn at the edge of the spawn mass
A quick check of the new planting on the embankment at Knights Park showed that the new irises are starting to establish – but the watercress and false watercress are also starting to grow again. These plants will have to be thinned out around the irises next month so that the irises don’t get swamped – come along and help out on the afternoon of the 13th of May – email me to book your place.
Marsh Marigolds in bloom on the embankment

Young irises starting to establish after last months planting
We are trying to establish a new long term butterfly transect at Tolworth Court after records from last year showed lots of different species on the site.

Peacock butterfly at Tolworth Court
One of the KBAG volunteers – Rachelle studied butterflies and is keen to help KU set up a transect on one of our sites.

Small Tortoiseshell seen basking at Tolworth Court
The survey takes about an hour and as those of you who took part in the Big Butterfly Count last year know, you’ll soon be able to ID the species. To get it up to national transect standards we need to conduct the surveys once a week, we’re aiming to recruit a few volunteers so that we can rotate the surveyor to reduce the commitment to one survey every 3-4 weeks.
Peacock basking on a reptile felt at Tolworth Court
If you are interested in helping out on this project and want to accompany Rachelle and/or myself on surveys over the next few months to get used the surveys before doing them yourself, please get in touch and I can send you some survey dates.

Plenty of other animals were spotted on the transect like this female Hairy-footed flower bee

Honey bee having a drink in the hot April sun
If bats are your thing, you can get involved in bat surveys that are happening at the London Wetland Centre in Barns and don't forget that we are running a bat walk on the 29th of May (see events listing to the right for more info on both).

Don't forget to get booked onto our eel monitoring course to get trained up and help monitor eels on the Hogsmill - training is on the 22nd of April or the 6th of May, Email Me to get booked on either.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sivi, Cool photos! The newt egg looks really nice eheheh About the Beetle, yes it really seems a Great Diving; but the best would have been to see it from above as well (as you mentioned it's for the coloration and to better see the legs). By the look of it you have a very nice pond in Kingston!