posh pond filled with baby Newts?
Baby Newt?

So haven’t seen any Newts for a while – certainly none I could get a shot of – or so I thought…

Haven’t managed to ID the Newts that I have seen here either – they could either be Smooth or Palmate? Certainly not Greater Crested although they do still remind me of small dragons…Definitely brown and I think orange and dotty underneath, though I don’t often see their undersides. G has never seen one here at all! Despite the water being so clear in our square pond lately. I have seen a largish brown definite newt shape at the bottom relatively recently – it’s not a deep pond. It’s incredible how once they spot you, or sense they’ve been spotted, they know how to merge with their background, before your very eyes! Either moving slowly under cover or just sinking further down, til they’ve disappeared…

Well as I was saying, not many sightings lately, here or anywhere else. Haven’t been getting out much!

Then yesterday, right at the steep edge of the square pond there was a small what I thought was fish like creature, with wings if that makes sense. You can just about make out the “wings” (I’m sure there’s a proper word for them) in the photo above – which was taken as the creature started its disappearing act. (It got completely under the pebble seconds later)

So now I got to thinking. What if this is a baby Newt!? As per previous blog, I think I saw mating activity back in Feb/March. So it could be, right here! In that case if so, then I had actually already seen several of these creatures at the pond at Rousham Park. Blithely telling other visitors “No, no Newts here!” But they could have been. A small amount of internet research shows that 2″ long fish like creatures with “wings” and “forearms” or “external gills” and “front legs” is exactly what baby Newts look like.

In which case, how exciting.

You may be wondering where connectivity comes into it… Well in two ways for me, really.

  1. Staring into the limpid waters it’s always astonishing to realise you’re seeing a fantastical creature that is, in some way or other, looking back at you – or aware of your presence at any rate. In this case aware enough to slide away…
  2. Connecting with other people is also a thing I’m craving still – after Lockdown. And not just people in general but people who are as interested as I am in the odd Newt appearance! There’s TV presenters who’d like to see Newts in their pond, those people I met at the very posh Rousham pond and somebody else I’ve encountered on social media – an out and out Naturalist recovering from an op in hospital – for whom this Newt is a bit of a helpful diversion!

Talk about the “feel good factor”. I’m catching up with latest University of Derby research behind the #30DaysWild Wildlife Trust campaign, which shows that connecting with Nature is good for one’s soul – or sense of well-being and purpose to put it slightly more scientifically. All I can say is – it sure is!

Rousham Park pond (probably full of baby Newts)

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