17 May 2015

17 May 15 - Palmate Newt

On a recent walk over the Studland patch, I had seen a few Newts in one of the acidic ponds. They looked smaller & darker than my Smooth Newts in my garden pond. The views were very short, as they only occasionally moved into view, before quickly disappearing into the large amount of vegetation again. The murky water didn't help. After an hour of looking, I had only seen a few brief views & sadly no photographs. However, I was fairly confident they were Palmate Newts, given the acid rich habitat & they looked smaller & darker than my Smooth Newts. A quiet day of Birding, gave me the excuse to head back to this pond, with local Birder & general Naturalist, Steve Morrison. But the views were even more fleeting at this pond. After more searching, we did find some more shallow ponds & this Palmate Newt. Guess I will be heading back to this pond for more photos later this Summer.
Palmate Newt: This was smaller than my Smooth Newts, with a distinctive face pattern. One of the key features is the unspotted throat (spotted in Smooth Newt), but that wouldn't be easily seen in the field. In the breeding season, males develop black webbed rear feet. I did see a black rear-footed male, but it dived back down into the pond, before I had the chance for any photos, but at least that was good to confirm the identification