and Amphibians of the Welsh Harp by Andrew Self
(From the book 'The Birds of Brent Reservoir')
In an attempt to catalogue these species a reptile survey was carried out at the reservoir in 1995 (Atkins and Herbert). Using this information and personal observations of several of the regular birders at Brent it is possible to give a brief list of the reptiles and amphibians that have been recorded and a summary of their status.
|Grass Snake Natrix
There are only a few records of this species, the only traceable ones are of one near the Rifle Range in the 1960s (per L. Batten) and one swimming in North Marsh on 2nd September 1994.
Two were observed in May 1989 near the Sailing Base and have been recorded on several other occasions since then.
|Common Lizard Lacerta
Previously a common and widespread species but they may now be locally extinct. The last record is of one in March 1994 on the former rubbish dump area.
Chrysemys scripta elegans
Since the late 1980s there have been a number of illegal releases of this native American terrapin into the reservoir. It is most often seen in the summer when one or more basks in the sunshine on some piece of discarded rubbish or log in the reservoir. One was reported laying eggs in the lawn near the main hide but this record could relate to an escaped tortoise. As many as six were counted in the summer of 1997.
Occasionally adults are found in the waterside vegetation but their most obvious signs are the mass of frogspawn and later the tadpoles in ponds, especially the bomb crater pond on the North Bank.
This alien species is known to have been released into the reservoir in the 1960s and was heard frequently in East Marsh up until 1973. The reservoir was drained in 1974 and it disappeared after this. The only record since then is of one calling daily beside the small hide in East Marsh in mid-May 1998. It was later heard alongside the North Bank of the main reservoir in July.
A fairly common and widespread species. Eggs and tadpoles are regularly seen in ponds adjacent to the main reservoir. There was some evidence of a decline since the 1950s when spawning took place in the reservoir until the mid 1980s. Since then Toads, aided by imported spawn, have increased in the ponds created in the 1980s and early 1990s and spawn has not been noted in the reservoir itself in recent years.
Although rarely observed this species is known to be fairly common around the reservoir.
|References: Atkins, W. & (1995) Reptile Survey of the Brent Reservoir (Welsh Harp) Herbert, C.|
© Brad Charteris