Amphibian Activity in 2017 With The HSI

Volunteers after a successful night of surveying in February

The HSI has emerged for our winter brumation and hit ground running in 2017. In early February our science officers attended the annual herpetofauna workers meeting in Nottingham where they got to exchange ideas and experiences with conservation organisations, ecological consultants, statutory bodies, land managers, academic institutions, students, and enthusiastic volunteers. Plenty of fresh new ideas where brought home to Ireland to be put to good use for our native reptiles and amphibians.

Frogs from Dublin city parks

February also saw the start of our urban amphibian survey 2017 in association with Dublin city council. Groups of hardy volunteers have been braving the cold February and March nights to join our science officers in locations throughout the city including Bushy park, on the southside, North Bull Island and the Phoenix Park, on the northside, and many others. Early in the season we encountered mass spawning on all sites and also observed many mass migrations of newts to their breeding ponds; Always a welcome sight, especially in city center locations.

Newt belly pattern recorded for population data

We also continued to monitor the wildlife pond we constructed last year with the Transition year students in Drimnagh Castle Secondary school, and we are assessing whether frogs and/or newts had taken up residence (ongoing).

Last weekend, continuing our partnership with the Native Woodland Trust, we conducted an amphibian education walk on the NWT nature reserve in Blessington. Lots of families joined in on what turned out to be a very productive day with both frogs and newts recorded on site. Some enthusiastic young froggers got their first look at tadpoles and newts too! Our surveys will be ongoing throughout the spring, summer, and early Autumn and will cover all our native reptiles and amphibians.

Science Officer Collie Ennis, showing how to sex newts
Science Officer Rob Gandola, talking frogs at the NWT Blessington Nature Reserve’s, Amphiban Nature Walk, in March

If you wish to get involved please contact us here. We would like to thank all our volunteers for their help in our first 2 months of surveying, The Native Woodland Trust for their partnership, and Dublin city council for their support. We are looking forward to keeping you all up to date with our further endeavors over the coming weeks and months!

The HSI team.