Saturday 9 June 2012

Wildlife Observations

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!!)

Lastly, a newt hunting his tadpole supper . . .

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.


  1. Interesting your observation about blackbirds BB - exactly as I find it - once the breeding season is well over they seem to be mates until the next year. As you haven't mentioned it, I presume no luck with your last viewers.

  2. No Weaver, sadly they never did come back to us as they said they would. At least we are having viewings (though the wrong sort of people, as they just want the house - they had the land or the outbuildings and none of them even gardened!) A neighbour up the hill with a smaller house but more land, has reported absolutely no interest in their house this year, though they had more viewings last year, but of the "Oh it's a pity the land isn't in FRONT of the house" type ones. Timewasters in other words. Just NOTHING is moving here and we're one of many all over Britain whose lovely house has been on the market for 2 or 3 years (or some even more).

  3. Well - re-reading my comment, it didn't make sense! The viewers weren't interested in the land or outbuildings is what I meant to say.

  4. Lucky you to see a redstart - I'm not I would recognize one if I did see it actually. I think a lot of birds are aggressive in the breeding season even if they are shy and timid the rest of the year.
    It's a shame that nothing came of the viewing but at least it's an improvement if you are actually getting people coming and you never know. Juliette says the market is picking up round here and I'm certainly seeing quite a lot of SOLD signs on the boards.

  5. I tried to comment last night but Blogger was not co-operating.

    Your pond looks so fresh and full of life BB. I do envy you all those newts and frogs. Our smooth newts seem to have moved away this year. I think our pond is in too much shade under the old lime tree and needs a good clear out before next spring.

    Someone, somewhere is going to love your beautiful old house AND the nature reserve of garden and fields that go with it. Let`s hope they turn up SOON!

  6. Rowan - fingers crossed then. I've seen a couple of "sold" properties too, and a couple of dearer properties which were on Rural Scene have been sold.

    DW - it is wonderful here for wildlife. We just seem to hve the wrong people viewing, who just want a big house and not the whole package. I hope you get your newts back next spring.

  7. I love small garden ponds, the way the frogs converge one day to breed, then the newts, and finally damsel flies and dragon flies, ponds are a place to sit and muse.

  8. We had a redstart in the garden a couple of years ago but have never seen one since. It's so exciting seeing birds slightly out of the ordinary. Love the pond pictures!

  9. I find that I can watach birds by the hour. I keep a pair of field glasses on a small table on the front porch to pick up if I'm sitting there with morning coffee or late in the day with iced tea. Some move so fast that I can't focus on them for better identification.
    Now as to frog/newt watching--haven't tried that, but most any wildlife is fascinating.
    I wish blogger would restore the click to enlarge feature--when they have a good thing they mess with it!