Category Archives: Newt

Why Leave the Garden?

Why leave the garden? It was another beautiful sunny day. Quite mild, and more time for getting on with the spring clear up. Not that it’s too much of a hardship with so much to see just by looking around. And there’s one big surprise at the end.

Overhead, several buzzards flew over late morning. The gulls chased them without ever really getting serious; just enough to shepherd the buzzards directly over the garden.

Common buzzard over garden

Common buzzard over garden

Common buzzard over garden

The gulls were rather more upset when a heron crossed the sky. They cleared a large passage for it, and by the sound of them were clearly not happy. It’s the first time I’ve seen a heron from the garden so although it was some distance away and the shot isn’t up to much, it’s here as part of the ongoing record.

grey heron over Woodingdean

A good part of the afternoon was spent removing weeds and leaves from the garden pond. It was somewhat neglected last year and was becoming a bit of a tangle. I clean it out by hand and spotted several newts (plus I inadvertently caught one, but quickly returned it to the water). The job’s only part done, but it does mean that tonight I was able to take this photo of one of the many newts.

smooth newt

Slightly off topic is this next shot. It was taken during the day but I’ve converted it to black and white. I had hoped to see a plane leave trails directly across the moon (I think I’ve got a shot like that from several years ago), but this will do.

moon and plane

The big (and very welcome) surprise comes towards the end of these video clips from the trail camera. Plenty of foxes, and a couple of badgers to enjoy.

Watch the video and you’ll know what I’m looking forward to seeing soon!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens except the newt which was taken with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

Also posted in Badger, Bird of Prey, Foxes, Moon, water birds Tagged , , , , , |

The Incredible Levitating Newt

If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. But it’s real, and I have the photographic evidence to prove it. Apart from a minor bit of cropping, I have done absolutely nothing to this image. It’s as shot from the camera and – as you can see – it shows a newt standing in mid-air.

levitating newt

I spotted it last night out in the garden. The wall behind it is near our back door, and the newt was quite literally standing in empty space. It was there for several minutes… long enough for me to go and get the camera, take a few shots and then investigate what was really going on.

On closer inspection what seems incredible becomes rather more prosaic. The newt is hanging in space in an area between a large rubbish bag and the garden wall; an area not only frequented by newts, but also by spiders. Somehow the newt had managed to clamber up the bag and was attempting to traverse the gap to the wall by walking along a mass of very fine spider webbing. Its progress was slow, and after watching for a few minutes I intervened with a piece of card and gently lifted it away. There were tangled remnants of sticky webbing around its tail and legs. I removed what I could and placed the newt back on the ground. It stayed motionless for a few minutes, and then started to move away, slowly at first and then with greater freedom as the final fragments of webbing around its leg broke away. Later we watched it scurrying around happily with a couple of other newts.

While all this was going on, Pretty was pacing around as only a fox can. Here she is standing just above the part of the wall where the newt was hanging.

fox on wall

Newt saved, Pretty retreated to the rear of the garden.

fox and apples

She’s been back again several times today, but we had nothing quite as exciting as last night’s rescue to hold her attention.

fox yawning

A big storm is heading our way on Sunday night. Much of the south of England will be hit, as well as more northern parts as it progresses up the country during Monday. Take care if you are out and about.

Camera note: shots 1-3 taken with the Canon 7D and EF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens. The big yawn was taken with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens.

Also posted in Amphibians, Behaviour, Foxes, Wildlife Tagged , , |

Patio Visitors

The garden is still sodden following the torrential rain we had earlier in the day, but that’s a good thing so far as the newts are concerned. A couple of them were exploring the area just outside our door this evening.

Newt

Newt

The one other shot is what is a short post (the weather really did conspire against anything else today), is one of Pretty a few minutes ago. I’ve really had very few sightings of the foxes at night in recent weeks (months?) so it was good to see her. She didn’t hang around for very long and after a minute or so disappeared into a neighbouring garden. She looked like a fox with a purpose. 😉

fox

Camera note: all shots taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

Also posted in Amphibians, Foxes, Wildlife