Call of the Wild (rewrite)

Newt sketch – no time for photos!

Call of the Wild (by Annie Macdonald

Isn’t it strange that it’s really only when you give up on things, completely and utterly, that they happen? I find that it’s like that with trying to connect with Nature, and things emerging from the garden – plants that you thought had died sending up shoots when you least expect it, or the Robin that only briefly appeared a while back, now being a regular visitor….

It’s also weird how sometimes you have to listen to that inner sense – even if it makes no sense. So it was one evening when I felt a distinct call to go look in the square pond, the one right outside the kitchen door. (Not the ‘wildlife pond’ specially dug into the lawn this year for wild things!) I had long given up on this square pond, it being so murky and hosting no visible life except snails. To the point of wondering whether to clear it out and start again.

But this evening in question, peering into the dark water in the half light I saw what I thought was the curl of a fallen leaf. And then it moved! I followed the shape around to find it was attached to a body, a distinctly dragon shape body if in miniature. A Newt!

As usual it had taken my brain a while to compute what I’d seen. Like the time a year or two ago when I saw, coming out of the corner of the same pond (which then had tadpoles and frogs) what I thought was a frog’s nose but the body kept coming straight out and along and along – and I realised it had a tail….and was astonished!

So this time I was so delighted that the next morning 6am I was there again, looking, and so was the Newt! Same thing a curl of a tail…The following morning I couldn’t believe my eyes, 4 Newts! This was early March…and quite cold.

I know now that that might have been mating season for them. Then when I found that out, I still worried there were not enough leaves for their eggs to be curled up in. But the Newts knew what they were doing, the frondy leaves would be fine.

Or so I’m hoping! Although I haven’t spotted the adults – lesser spotted they were I think – again, I am touched forever that they were there (and that somehow I knew to go look). And am hopeful baby newts might be on their way.

Despite the Mallard Duck and and Drake coming for a surprise visit – for a bath and munch of the green stuff (not duckweed). Well it was a surprise to me, I think they’d been before judging by the devastation! Which unfairly I’d blamed on Mrs Backbird. The ducks left me with a bit of a quandry – how much do you step in? I lured them away with a tiny bit of bread and put wire mesh down over the ‘wildlife pond’ – to protect the tadpoles in there…

And apparently tadpoles or frogs eat newts eggs or is newts that eat tadpoles? – or both? – (so it’s lucky they might be in different ponds). Thankfully I can’t take really any further action. I’ll just have to let things take their course and see what I can see! And learn what I can. Being very glad of the wild things that live right outside my back door.

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