We are a small informal group. We welcome both people who prefer to work as individuals but sometimes feel the Group can help in some way and people who prefer to work in cooperation with others. We occasionally organise outings and training sessions particularly for people who wish to qualify for a GCN license.
There is no subscription but members who sign up are covered by the ARG insurance scheme. We are affiliated to the Bedfordshire Natural History Society. We are also members of the Beds Heathland Forum. We have helped draft SAPS for both Bedfordshire Adders and Great Crested Newt.
At present much of our activity has been concentrated on specific sites in the south of the county. We are only too aware of how little we know about North Bedfordshire. In spite of large areas of arable desert Bedfordshire is richer in herps than one might expect. We have all the common species with the exception of the palmate newt. There are two introduced species: Midwife Toads and Pool Frogs, and one re-introduction: Natterjack Toads. The county is a stronghold for the Great Crested Newt. Much of Bedfordshire is very poorly surveyed. We simply do not know what is there. Parts of the county are under severe development pressure and there are not enough of us. If are interested please get in touch.
This is really a Buckinghamshire record but never mind. The Greensand Trust has taken over management of an area comprising 210 acres of parkland and mixed woodland, called the Rushmere estate. Although there are wonderful opportunities for creating herp friendly sites the present terrain did not look too auspicious: too much shade; water bodies too big.
Nonetheless an adder has been sighted right by the bungalow which will be the new GST office.
‘Netting is chancy’ – so is bottle trapping.
Posted on Friday 3rd June, 2011
The new Greensand Trust reserve, Sandy Smith, has a pond originally dug for duck shooting and now known as the ‘decoy pond’. This spring we bottle trapped, netted, torched and egg searched. No sign of GCN except a single egg. Having found it we did not unwrap any more.
On August 16 we tried netting for larvae. The first time Sue put her net in we found a GCN! (see picture). An hour later that was still our only one. Plenty of smooth newt of course. It is obviously a tiny population and it will be interesting to see how it develops. Just shows how you have to use all available methods, but for presence of species egg searching is the best.