Yesterday being a Bank Holiday I spent the best part of the day pottering round the garden. I soon get irritated by crowds and noise (grumpy old man syndrome) so I keep out of the way on such days. After a misty and drizzly start it turned out to be a lovely warm day for the time of year.
Checking the pond I spied a pond skater (common water-strider, Gerris lacustris) so fetched the camera. I had to wait a while as it was dashing around all over the place and occasionally leaping up. Eventually it rested a while for me to get a couple of portraits.
Earlier on I thought I had briefly spied the tail of a disappearing newt so I hung around every so often to try to get a better view. Eventually I was rewarded by seeing not one but four newts all in view at the same time.
Later I saw two Common Newts which were staying very close together and it appeared to be a male following a female. These shots are rather murky as they were on the bottom of the pond.
After a while what appeared to be the female came to the surface and spent a while probably laying eggs on the pond weed. The middle picture shows quite a fat belly which is what leads me to believe it is the female.
She stayed there a while and then moved on to another clump of weed where she spent more than a minute in the same spot.
As there were fish around I stayed near this area to keep them away. When she had finished I gathered some of the weed from this spot and transferred it to the nursery pond where the frog spawn is so that if there were any eggs they would have a chance to hatch. There was a short mass of jelly about an inch long and a quarter of an inch wide. Whether this was laid by the newt or a great pond snail I am not sure. Only time will tell.
I was fascinated by the way the great pond snails move from one area of the pond to another. Sometimes they slither round the outer edge but many other times they float upside down and let the breeze take them across the water. As they reach new pastures they wrap them selves round the stem and start browsing on the algae there.
About 2 p.m. the weather started to change, drizzle and getting cooler, so we went for afternoon walkies and then I called it a day on the photographic front. By 3 it was raining and it rained on and off the rest of the day.
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