I can't be certain, because it hasn't yet deigned to show me its chin (which would be diagnostic, depending on the presence or otherwise of spots) but I am fairly certain it's a Smooth (or common) Newt, rather than a Palmate. Either would be fab, I'm not choosy: I am just over-the-moon that we have A Newt. Full Stop (although two newts would obviously be even better).....
This level of enthusiasm is not remotely shared by my family who, while pleased that a newt has moved in, do not understand my tiggerish-happiness at events like this. They exhibit a similar lack of willingness to leap about excitedly whenever I mention going Hunting For Butterflies, and so I went by myself on Sunday afternoon in what (for England) turned out to be blistering heat. I got burnt on my shoulders (cue near-panic from J who frets terribly about skin cancer) but that didn't matter, because I saw my first-ever Brown Argus butterfly and managed to get a picture too.... This is a male, judging by the number of orange spots.....Lovely, don't you think?
The Brown Argus is actually a type of Blue butterfly (just to confuse things), which is more apparent when the wings are closed when it very closely resembles the Common Blue. Although you can just about make out a Blue Dusting on the left top wing in the shot above.
It was a Good Day for flutters on the whole, the sun being out and the wind being non-existent, which is what they generally like. While out I also saw....
|A Female Brimstone nectaring on some Ragged Robin|
|Male Orange Tip|
|Small Blue laying eggs on kidney vetch (the sole food plant for the pillars)|
|Common Blue at rest on some grass|
|Male Small Blue (note the dusting of blue scales on the wing, which the female doesn't have)|
|Small Blue at rest|
And this Plume Moth who fluttered down and landed more or less at my feet while I was thinking about taking another bee pic. I have been trying to work out which sort he/she is, but Plumes are a bit of a mine-field. If anyone knows please shout.....
Back at home and Biodiversity is also Going Well, judging from the number of moths who've been visiting the Moth Box.
|The year's first Buff Ermine, Creamy Cousin to the White (watch out for this one in the next quiz!)|
|Pale-Shouldered Brocade, cousin of the Light Brocade we've seen before|
|Both types of Peppered- Darwin would be pleased|
My Robin (who has children in the wisteria in the apartment above the Pigeon's Flat, which is just down from our bedroom window. The Pigeon's Flat is Very Noisy because as large birds they have a habit of Flapping About With No Consideration At All For The Neighbours when they come in and out through their front door- Lord Knows how the baby Robins feel about this, but then they are noisier than the pigeon smalls who don't breath a word in their nest, so it's all Swings And Roundabouts I suppose), where was I? Oh yes, our Robin has Cunningly learnt to associate me with the Moth Box, and the Moth Box with food...
I rose on Sunday morning (rudely early and somewhat bleary eyed after a Chinese and a bottle of Champers) in a vain attempt to beat him to the box, only to discover the usual casualties of Shredded Wings littering the grass nearby. To add insult to injury, there was even a Robin-Sized-Poo on the lid of the box. I brought the moths in and emptied a few out into plants on the patio, only to see him swoop down and pick them out!
He must have been watching me :-(
See? That's a MOTH in his beak- caught red-beaked I'd say.
Anyhoo, I have foiled him, by not putting the box out until nightfall after he is tucked up asleep with all those noisy children of his :-)
Except that last night he was sitting silently in the Corkscrew Willow by the back door waiting for me, and as the moths started to wake up and come out of the box, he pounced and got another one :-( :-(
I am torn, because I love my birds and this little Robin is my pal, and is also feeding smalls, which is a Demanding Job as any parent knows and he has my sympathies on that score, seen as I am currently also having to Provide Food For Voraciously Hungry Teenage Boys, but I also love my Moths....
The Long And Short of it is, we have brokered a deal, me and Mr Robin. He has promised NOT to take any more of my moths and I've put an extra coconut half stuffed full of meal worms and fat on the patio table beneath his nest. I hope he will stick to his word....although judging from these pictures it's not looking good, is it?
|No prizes for guessing where the Moth Box is in this shot....|
Wishing you all a Lovely Evening