On the evening of the 8th April, three volunteers with the group visited the area close to Baggie Minnie pond in Carmyle (SE Glasgow) as part of the group’s Amphibians in Drains (AiD) project.
Volunteers checking a drain full of newts.
Last year we checked the drains in the closest streets to the pond and were able to rescue approximately 20 newts from their drain “prisons”. The drain threat to local amphibians will be drawn to the attention of Glasgow City Council who promote a Local Biodiversity Action Plan, which includes newts as priority species for conservation within the city. However, last years visit was made fairly early in the spring migration season (when amphibians move from their hibernation sites to their breeding ponds) and it was thought likely that the problem might have been under-estimated. So the recent visit was made a little later, to try to get a better idea of the scale of the amphibian (especially newt) mortality.
Sure enough, on the 8th we recorded more than double the number of smooth newts and palmate newts in the drains as last year, along with a few frogs and toads... so four species in total! The total numbers rescued were 25 smooth newts, 26 palmate newts, 5 frog and 3 toad. Unfortunately, a further 3 smooth newts were already dead when we fished them out, while one other toad buried itself in the drain sludge and refused to be netted.
Full details of all the AiD visits will be included in a concluding report later in the year, at which time we might be asking you to lobby your councillors to do something about this unnecessary carnage to our dwindling amphibian populations in and around the city. There are cheap and simple solutions to the problem, but we need the councils to “buy in” to these.
A tub full of rescued newts and a toad.
Emma Downie, CARG Secretary