After the change of projects to the newt belly patterns for Todd, January has been a fairly slow month for newt sightings. With only one being spotted on Todd and Izzy’s survey and a further two being spotted by Rose whilst she was small mammal trapping.
However, though very little in the way of newts have been found there have been a lot of small mammals, and surprisingly toads found on site. Quite a few of these mammals have seemingly set up “home nest” under a few sheets, with the same 2 wood mice being found under sheet 48; 4 wood mice being found under sheet 82 from time to time; and also 4 bank voles being found under sheet 84 quite a lot.
The graph above shows what has been found so far and how many of each type of animals have been found under the big and small sheets. This graph clearly shows that the majority of small mammals and using the big sheets and the amphibians are more than likely using the small sheets. Whereas due to the lack of sightings of reptiles the results are quite unclear at the moment.
What’s the point?
How will Todd’s project help the Trust when it comes to the persistence and survival of the great crested newt at Parc Slip? Well once all the summer pond dipping has been and individuals have hopefully been found between the sheet areas (feeding) and the pond areas (breeding), this will then allow Todd to estimate the paths the newts are taking to get between the two.
From this he will then be able to implement plans to help make these routes easier for the newts, i.e. develop trails from the feeding sites to the breeding sites to aid the travelling newts. Even develop plans to place pond nearer to the feedings sites if the ponds are a great distance away. This will mean that plans will be able to be drawn up that could then be implemented elsewhere to help newt persistence and survival UK wide, maybe even across Europe.
Therefore all the data collected from this project, and the developments from it, could be vital to the next few years of great crested newt survival and persistence.