RAUK - Archived Forum - Posts by Chris Monk:

This contains the Forum posts up until April 2011. Posts may be viewed but cannot be edited or replied to - nor can new posts be made. More recent posts can be seen on the new Forum at http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/


Forum Home

Posts by Chris Monk:

This is Page 1

Author Message
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 15 Mar 2009 Topic: First of the year?



When the Peak National Park did their survey in 1994 they were advised by Howard Inns to put tins out on the moor, which they did in areas where adders had been seen by estate staff, rangers etc. They were checked every weekend (Sat & Sun) by their patrol rangers from April to October in 1994 and again in 1995 from March to October. They got many sightings of adders in the vicinity but never found a single one under a tin in the two years. 15 years later several of the tins are still out on the moors (on a field trip last weekend we actually discovered another one still out there). Neither John Newton nor I have ever seen an adder under or on top of them in our spring emergence surveys which we have been doing since 2005. 


Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 15 Mar 2009 Topic: First of the year?



Forgot to say it was a good day out on Sunday when several people came over from Manchester as there aren't any adders near them. Was able to show them several sites and like on the Derbyshire training day I organised on Saturday we found a curled up stack of adders on one site. Yesterday they were in groups of 4 and 2 (plus some others nearby) today Matt and Andy thought there were 4 in one coiled mass until one of them moved to reveal another male below that they hadn't seen.


Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 15 Mar 2009 Topic: what about us ?



Quite a lot about today on the moors during our adder field trip. Up to now had only seen the odd one or at most two in a day but they were starting to appear in reasonable numbers in the sunshine - though still vastly outnumbered by the number of adders seen (42). Although some were very quick to disappear several stayed still enough for people to photograph.


Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 16 Jun 2005 Topic: Lizard feigning dead



Thanks for suggestions. My first thoughts were that they were most likely to be newts or less likely an ill lizard.

I will try and contact the woman over the weekend and find out more details. I doubt that it was comatose from having been carefully turned over to look at its belly like Brett's one at Swanscombe. Have had plenty of experience of people who are convinced of their identifications (including reports of lizards that were terrestrial newts, a whole pond of swimming lizards (great crested newts) and especially people absolutely convinced that they had seen adders, despite the fact that they were 3ft long and chasing frogs in their garden ponds, or because they had been engineers in Africa and knew what a poisonous snake looked like !).




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 30 Mar 2006 Topic: Viviparous lizard photographs



Last week we came across a really bright light green common lizard on the Peak District Moors. It paused in full view for perhaps 5 or so seconds, so both of us had a really clear view and I have never seen anything like that colour on a lizard before. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me that day. At the weekend John (Newton) did find a greenish lizard nearby but it was more grey-green than in Woodlouse's photo and nowhere near the colour of the one I saw.


Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 30 Mar 2006 Topic: Cretinous BBC press item



I am afraid the majority of dog owners consider their animals never cause any problems and don't need to be on a lead in the countryside despite the fact that they are rampaging through the vegetation disturbing any wildlife in the vicinity.

When the CROW Act made the Peak District Moors Open Access, the first thing the National Park had to do with their two wildlife sanctuary areas (where the adders are found) was to remove all the signs asking people to keep to the designated paths. They did put signs up asking dog owners to keep their pets on a lead because of ground nesting birds. I have never seen a single person put their dog on a lead on the site, except in some cases where they are uncertain about other approaching people with dogs. Throwing sticks out into the heather/bracken or into the small moorland pools for the dogs to chase is a favourite activity.

(The Peak Park Estate staff previously had removed the beware of adders signs as it was decreed they gave a negative message that wasn't welcoming to visitors)




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 14 Mar 2007 Topic: NARRS blog



As the cloud became more continuous this afternoon and the sun lost its heat I gave up searching for new adder locations on the moors, which happen to also be in two of the extra (red) NARRS squares in Derbyshire. Still 3 new sightings and a count for a known site in the Make the Adder Count Survey means that both can be "ticked off" on NARRS for adder presence plus frog spawn in one and common lizard in the other.

Then it was off to the "proper" high priority (blue) 1 km NARRS grid square I had put myself down to do. There's only one pond remaining in the square and not having participated in the pilot for the amphibian part of NARRS I hope I recorded all the info that is needed, I'll have to check when survey packs are available in a few days. Also decided the best route for the reptile survey and where to put down some tins. Its in an area with no reptile records, virtually all improved farmland but the centre of the square, where the pond is situated, is a derelict quarry so I might find that some reptiles have survived in there.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 15 May 2004 Topic: Where do newts come from?



Smooth newts are good colonisers and after common frogs are the most likely amphibian to be found in garden ponds (although in some areas of the country you will find palmate newts doing the same thing) They don't have to walk miles, as you say that there is the odd pond in other peoples gardens then that is almost certainly where they have come from. I have found smooth newts in very small water features, including a dozen in a shallow concrete pool no bigger than a kitchen sink set in a rockery as a bird bathing place, so there may be more water bodies containing newts in your neighbourhood than you suspect. Juveniles dispersing from a pond may have suddenly discovered your pond or it may be that at least one pair found your pond three or so years ago and laid their eggs and it is now the newly matured adults from that breeding that have turned up. Smooth newts should be able to colonise other garden ponds within a hundred metres quite easily and even further distances over a longer period of time but not from miles away without human assisted movement, which is not recommended.


Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 08 Aug 2004 Topic: Travelling Reptiles



Steve

If you want some advice on where might be good places to look in your locality, contact Sheila Wright at the Nottingham Museum at Wollaton Hall. 01159 153905. She keeps the Notts records for reptiles (and found the County's adder colony a few years ago) and might be able to point you towards the best places to survey. Possibly the staff at Bestwood Country Park might also have suggestions. Even if no-one has any suggestions for your neighbourhood, it is probably because no-one has ever surveyed the area for reptiles.

Also be careful where you place your felt or tins, as in some locations where kids gather or lots of people are about they can be interfered with. It can result in accidental injury to the animals or in the worse cases deliberate capture or killing.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 29 Oct 2004 Topic: Newts Neuter New Block



Sue, the problem of protected species (gcn) in school ponds can increase even when we know about them. Often the teacher(s) who are interested and knowledgeable can move on and the school wildlife garden/pond falls into disrepair or is destroyed without anyone being any the wiser.

I have had to intervene twice at one school development to save gcn's, where I was asked to carry out a rescue about 10 years ago. After the first rescue (the day before contractors started a massive rebuilding programme to replace buildings destroyed by arson) to catch and move adult gcn using the edge of the site, a school wildlife area and pond was created as part of the development. The newts colonised this area from the adjacent private large garden pond, which had been the original source of the animals.

About 4 years ago by chance I was consulted by the planners as another large building was to be put on the site, with the majority of the wildlife area, including half the pond, under the buildings footprint. When reminded about the gcns they placed the building elsewhere.

Pond and wildlife area saved ? The building was delayed and temporary classrooms for 1 year were needed. Luckily the same planner contacted me, as the school didn't want to lose two grotty silver birch trees in close mown grass and was going to put the temporary buildings on the wildlife area within feet of the edge of the pond. Loud shouts of NO were heard. Luckily good consultants were then engaged, adequate protection for gcn undertaken, the new buildings completed, pond and wildlife area saved. Last year over 50 gcn recorded in the pond.

Once the biology teacher who has tipped us & the planners off each time leaves however, we will probably not know the next time a threat happens to the newts & their habitat.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 06 Dec 2004 Topic: Prosecution Case Studies



I am not aware of any prosecutions in Derbyshire, although I have been involved in three police investigations into GCN sites.

One of which was started by the local English Nature Team after a "respectable" consultancy started work to clear out drainage ditches. I attended a site visit but played no further part. No legal action was taken, as it resulted from an incorrect grid reference for the location of GCN's but I understand that certain persons in the firm lost their newt licences. (The result was a major habitat and pond creation scheme on site, now being followed by a further scheme on adjacent land so the GCN population has soared & is in better condition than ever).

A previous incident involved using the local police and a Council planning enforcement action to get access to a site just over the border in Sheffield. I did a report for the police stating that the 1994 Regulations had been breached (deliberate damage to gcn habitat/places of shelter). The police consulted the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), who decided not to go ahead as the owner was now obeying Council enforcement notices and also called in ecological consultants to design a mitigation scheme.

The last incident eighteen months ago involved the new owner of an old tip bulldozing the whole area, despite my having told them of the presence of GCN and the Council mineral planners telling them the same thing. Despite doing a proper police witness statement for the Police Wildlife Liaison Officer, (as also was done by the Council planners), the police solicitor decided not to even forward it to the CPS. It was only a semi-temporary pond with a small GCN population but one of our reliable recorders had found the site only 2 years earlier.

Lee - Someone else who has vast experience of contraventions of legal protection by developers and consultants that should have resulted in prosecutions but didn't is Dave Bentley HGBI NW regional rep.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 19 Feb 2005 Topic: Early adder sightings



To prepare for taking part in the "Make the Adder count" recording project this spring I went for a walk on the Peak National Park's eastern moors to look at the areas surveyed in the mid 1990's and also for other possible adder hibernation sites. High open sites at around 300m elevation, mostly sunny after overnight frost, strong northerly wind and an air temperature of only 3.5. Still found two adders tightly coiled next to each other at 310m elevation in a sheltered corner and a slightly more active individual 2km away at 280m elevation on a breezy bank.

We used to have winters up here where there would have been two or three feet of snow on these moors for most of February. (The Peak Park's 1994 adder survey here didn't start till late April.) Is this run of mild winters just a taste of what is to come with global warming?

Chris Monk

Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 19 Feb 2005 Topic: Toads and Roads



Ian

It depends where you are in the country, as frogs and toads start back to their breeding ponds much earlier in the south west than they do in the north east. Most toads move on mild damp evenings and cold weather puts them off and they stay put. So there might still be time to get things organised if it is done quickly. The wildlife trust might not help with organising volunteers to run toad road crossing rescues/patrols as several have pulled out because of worries about insurance risks. Here in Derbyshire the Wildlife Trust set up the Toad Save group about 1990 (now the Amphibian & Reptile Group) but pulled out of having anything to do with toad crossings two years ago. We now have to organise the toad patrols on our crossing sites as (groups of) private individuals.The local council highways division will tell us where we can install toad road signs but won't buy any or put them up for us. Our toads usually start moving in March although cold dry weather may put them off till April.

A paper by Arnold Cooke in the recent British Herpetological Society bulletin, suggests that high road casualties could be a significant factor in toad population declines in ponds in vulnerable locations.

Chris Monk

Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 20 Feb 2005 Topic: Toads and Roads



Richie

I do not know of any group in the Mansfield area that is involved in Amphibians and Reptiles. Most of the information in Notts comes from Shelia Wright at the Nottingham Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall. She and two others published a book last year on the distribution & conservation in Notts of reptiles and amphibians (Frogs and Friends 7.50 from the Museum). All three are also members of the Notts Wildlife Trust, so they might know if there are any groups in your part of the county. The phone number at the museum is 01159 153905 if you want to contact her.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 28 Mar 2005 Topic: Early adder sightings



Going back to Adam's posting last week and the quote about females outnumbering males, he got that from a previous posting by Geoff Simpson. One of the Peak Park moors sites that I have been counting for the Make the Adder Count survey was initially located by Geoff some years ago. (It was the one where 2 males were out on the 19th Feb this year). It can seem to have a predominance of females (7 to 3 males when I did my final count on the 14th March) but that may be just a function of some of the males that were out earlier moving away from the hibernaculum and not being found. The max number of males I saw at the site on a visit a few days earlier was actually 5, giving only a 60%/40% bias in favour of females.

Incidentally the site Adam found is a new record on the edge of the moor in a new 1 kilometre grid square. On the day he took his photos I was only about 500 metres away the other side of some trees doing counts on other emergence sites, the nearest one about 400 metres from Adams is another new record in a another new 1 kilometre grid square adjacent to his.

Unfortunately the weather over Easter on the Moors has been really dreadful, mostly dull with drizzle or rain and even cloaked in dense hill fog, so I had gave up and went pond surveying elsewhere in the Peak Park.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 10 May 2005 Topic: Active topics since last visit - fault



Gemma

Sorry to say, I've just had the same fault as Suzi - and it was after looking at this topic posting! You go back to the "active topics since last visit" page and it displays no new topics as it has logged an entirely fictional last visit time, usually a few hours previous when you weren't visiting the site.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 10 May 2005 Topic: Yellow newt



David

They are found every so often. There was one reported to me from a garden pond some years ago and it too was a pale goldfish colour.




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 10 May 2005 Topic: Active topics since last visit - fault



PS Looks like it is still running on US time, just notice it has posted my items 5 hours earlier than I wrote them


Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 14 Jun 2005 Topic: Lizard feigning dead



Had this e-mail from the Wildlife Trust this afternoon:-

"Lizard feigning dead

Have you heard of this Chris? Mrs *****, has lizards in her garden and has seen this behaviour recently. Even being able to pick the lizard up and hold it motionless in her hand. I know grass snakes do this (but only when threatened) but why should a lizard do it unthreatened???

She says there are also lizards across the road at Hill Farm Cottage for your records. Definitely lizards, not newts.shes quite sure."

Anyone observed this behaviour in common lizards or have any suggestions?




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk
Chris Monk
Senior Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 157


View other posts in this topic
Posted: 14 Jun 2005 Topic: BBC Radio 4 "Nature" programme



Next Monday night's Nature programme on BBC Radio 4 at 9pm is on "A raw deal for reptiles - why are Britain's Reptiles getting such a raw deal when it comes to conservation" (It is also repeated the next morning (Tuesday 21st June) at 11am.

Perhaps their researchers have been studying the posts on this Forum detailing some of the disasterous "management" by conservation staff of important reptile habitat areas on supposedly protected sites !

 




Chris
Derbyshire Amphibian & Reptile Group
www.derbyshirearg.co.uk

- Posts by Chris Monk

This is Page 1

Content here  topic header