Nearly three weeks ago we had a walk through Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve in Hong Kong. On our usual walk (starting on the Yellow and ending on the Red routes) we were noticing the damage to the paths and rails done by the massive downpour caused by the remnants of Typhoon Haikui in September. Essentially that route goes up one side of a hillstream and down the other. We noticed a side pond off the main stream. A quick look showed a Hong Kong Newt (Paramesotriton hongkongensis) on a submerged branch. And then we realised there were around eight newts in there, clambering in the roots and branches, resting on the gravel or walking across the floor. It is in the winter months that the newts can be seen in the streams and ponds. They breed there, laying their eggs singly on submerged plants, and it may be that is what some of the newts we could see were doing. I fact, is that an egg I can see half-encirciled by the tail in the first photograph?
Totally hidden was their ventral coloration of orange-red blotches. Previously, including our time in Hong Kong they were collected and sold on roadside goldfish stalls (which is how we obtained the one I photographed in 1966). They are now protected.
Curious passers by were told what we were doing staring with binoculars into the bottom of pond as the newts went about being newts. Could we have started newting as a trendy fashion?. ‘Birding is soo over’, said AJP, as we carried on and the mixed flocks of birds failed to materialise.
|Looks like a newt egg to me