Saturday 9 June 2012
Firstly the wildlife pond. I had two of the three frogs out sunbathing earlier this afternoon. This is the prettiest of the three, being a beautiful bronze colour.
I have just removed several photos as when I published them, you can no longer double-click and enlarge them and you couldn't really see what was meant to be in the photo . . .
Whilst out in the deeper part of the pond, two newts prepare to have a fight. The one with the straighter tail is holding his ground. The one in front of him - they are nose to nose - has lashed his tail along his flank and is presumably the aggressor. He barges forward to try and win the territory (I assume) but the other newt isn't bothered. I'm not sure (as I can't see their hind feet) if one is a Smooth Newt and the other a Palmate, as I have both sorts in my pond.
You may just be able to see, in the centre of this picture, a curious creature in the weeds. It is dark grey-black, with slightly spotted flanks, a bluntish tail-end and black feathery outside gills. The nearest I can come to an ID is that it may be a young newt before it becomes old enough to leave the pond at around 3 months? But this is relatively large and my newts appear to be mating at the moment (they mate April/May). (Sorry, this is probably too vague to see too, but it is literally in the centre of the pic just above the green tipped leaf touching the snail shell.)
By the lump of quartz, free-swimming newts (Olympic candidates!!)
Now onto birds. Today I spotted 2 Goldfinches amongst the Aquilegias in the garden; then a female Redstart in the rose arbour, and down by the bridge two days ago I saw a Pied Flycatcher. Whilst we were parked at the Railway Station yesterday, waiting for our daughters train, two male Blackbirds had a fight over territory. They went at it hammer and tongs for 3 or 4 minutes. Each bird would batter the other with its wings and peck whichever bit it could reach. The bird underneath was literally trampled into the ground. Neither bird seemed the stronger, but finally one threw in the towel and staggered off, looking pretty groggy after a particularly vicious series of pecks to the head. It had one wing drooping and took itself off around the corner of a wall to recover. The victor stood and watched it retreat for a good minute, to make sure it wasn't going to have one last try for supremacy. I knew they were territorial birds (until there is a foot of snow on the ground and then they visited my garden 25 at a time) but I had never witnessed a battle like this before.