It’s a frog’s life
It’s no secret that great crested newts are important residents in the Hamptons but the Hampton Nature Reserve is also home to grass snakes and adders. In June, MEP Alex Mayer visited the reserve with Kathy Wormald, chief executive officer of Froglife, a national charity dedicated to conserving native amphibians and reptiles, which manages the nature reserve on behalf of O&H.
The purpose of the visit was to raise the profile of the valuable wildlife at the reserve, especially the amphibian and reptile species. Kathy highlighted that the reserve supports several species protected under European legislation and the concern Froglife has about what will be put in place to protect these species following BREXIT.
Kathy also showed Alex the newly painted storage containers on the reserve which were done by a professional graffiti artist and local volunteers. The new design, depicting snakes and amphibians, is aimed at promoting the work of Froglife on the reserve.
As part of the ongoing management of the reserve, Froglife undertakes fortnightly reptile surveys during the spring and summer to monitor the valuable reptile populations. These results are crucial in guiding the practical management of the site in autumn and winter. Froglife also carries out targeted scrub management to provide habitats for a range of reptile species as well as cutting back reeds on selected ponds for great crested newts.
The Hampton Nature Reserve is home to a wide range of other species including rare butterflies, dragonflies, birds and mammals. Froglife is also involved in restoring selected ponds for the nationally scarce bearded stonewort, which only occurs in a small number of ponds across the whole country. Unfortunately, many of these rarities are threatened by domestic dogs and cats which enter the site.
Dogs can disrupt ponds and the surrounding vegetation and cats are predators of many species including newts, lizards and small mammals. Froglife would like to remind residents to keep cats inside whenever possible and not to exercise their dogs on this private reserve. Another problem on the reserve is antisocial behaviour such as illegal camping and riding of motorbikes. Froglife would like to highlight this issue and the disturbance that it can cause to wildlife and their habitats.
As the Hampton Nature Reserve is privately owned, members of the public are not allowed on site. However, Froglife delivers weekly volunteer sessions on the reserve which allow residents access and to take part in carrying out important habitat management works. All ages are welcome to join these regular and enjoyable volunteer groups. Froglife is also holding an open day on the reserve on 11 August. Visit the Froglife website for more details www.froglife.org or email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.