Spring in winter – what’s up with crested newts

Spring in winter – what’s up with crested newts

February is a month when it is not usual to write too much about amphibian activity. Yes, there have already been numerous winter sightings of various early spring species – especially individuals migrating to bodies of water or those that, due to the close proximity of their wintering sites, have already managed to enter the water – but as a rule, such reports have been treated as “curiosities.” However, this year’s February is, according to the analysis of measurement data carried out by IMGW-PIB, a “thermally extreme warm month, with an area average anomaly of multi-year conditions (1991-2020) of +5.9oC (as of 25.02.2024). Positive anomalies are recorded throughout the country.”  A marked increase in temperature was also felt by amphibians in Ponidzie.

In Umianowice, the first great crested newts can already be seen in the reservoirs made as part of the Life4Delta project – and what is even more unusual for this time of year, on February 20, the “laying” of great crested newt eggs was already observed (a total of a dozen laying in three reservoirs). The eggs of great crested newts are relatively easy to spot, as the newts – wrapping the eggs in the soft leaves of aquatic plants – bend them in a distinctive way (the leaf looks from a distance as if it were “clipped”). In addition to newts, common toads and moor frogs are also tentatively emerging from their wintering grounds in other areas of the Delta. Spring is already in full swing this winter!

Małgorzata Łaciak

Ośrodek Edukacji Przyrodniczej w Umianowicach

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