23 Apr 2020

18 Apr 20 - My Large Spring Visitors #BWKM0

One of the first things I did with the garden after I bought my house, was to dig a nice large pond. The previous owners had a wendy house for their kids. Fortunately, they were removing the wendy house as I was moving in, which saved me the hassle to get rid of it. This left me with a big patch of bare ground & a lot of long rank grass. A nice large pond was the best way to start sorting that mess out. I refused to put the obligatory Goldfish or Carp in, as it was planned to be a wildlife pond. I expected the Frogs to find it & start breeding. Frustratingly, while there are often one or two Frogs in the pond, they have never bred. After a few years, the Smooth Newts found the pond and are generally visible, especially at night. I was very excited at the end of May 13, when I checked the pond & found my first Great-crested Newt. Numbers at this time of year are always tricky to count, as they generally are only visible after dark & are fairly shy. A few nights each Spring, I pop out with a torch after dark to count the Great-crested Newts. The peak count has been five in May 14 and two so far this year: but it's still early.
Great-crested Newt: Male (31 May 13)
Great-crested Newt: Male (18 Apr 14)
Great-crested Newt: Female (18 Apr 14)
Great-crested Newt: Female (9 May 15)
Like many kids of my generation, I got into wildlife by looking at Frogs, Tadpoles & whatever we could in some of the local streams in school holidays. This was several years before I started birdwatching. My interest in pond life have never left me & it's a real privilege been adopted by the local Great-crested Newts. I found out soon after I moved down to Dorset, that all three Newt species occur locally. I've got two species & I keep checked each year in the hope that a Palmate Newt or two will appear. That would be fantastic, but I'm not complaining with what I have.

Check tomorrow to see the next day's wildlife sighting at #BWKM0.

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