Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Night-time newt safari

Our Dragonfly Pond was originally created as an extended home for the resident Common or Smooth Newts in our garden as well as attracting dragonflies to breed. The newts have thrived and each spring they congregate in the pond to flirt, mate and lay eggs on their favourite plant – the water forget-me-not.

I've always failed to capture the newts with the camera . . . until tonight! I had a cunning plan and it worked. I feel as if I've been on a safari and bagged close-ups of the big-five :-)

There's a narrow channel joining the deep pond to the shallow gravel and weed filled pond where the newts lay their eggs. At night the newts become more active, they swim and dive and do their flirty tail wiggling dances in the deep pond. This evening I went down to the pond, there was a queue of newts making there way along the channel – I set the camera on fast shutter speed, macro and flash and aimed using a torch as a guide, then I turned off the torch and took the photo. When I downloaded the photos this is what I'd got (you can click on the photos to enlarge them).




21 comments:

  1. They're just wonderful!
    Lucky you seeing them, and thanks for sharing! I can just imagine a moonlight safari with torch and camera!!

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  2. Are those giant British newts? They look huge in the photos. There's one night a year in the spring when our salamanders migrate from under the leaves in the woods to the vernal ponds. It takes place early during spring thaw. I've yet to go out on the right night to see it.

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  3. Amazing, David Attenborough eat your heart out!

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  4. great photos, never seen one in the wild.

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  5. What a treat! I've never seen one in real life - but then I've never gone hunting with a torch :-)

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  6. Celia, you are such a wise lady. You had a brilliant idea about how to give those newts their photo op.

    Truly great to see these pictures of beings that I will never see close up for myself.

    Just marvelous. Thank you. xo

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  7. Great photos. How big are they? They look enormous. I'm not sure if I'd like them if they're really that big!

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  8. Our garden isn't populated by with the Giant Suffolk Newt! These are Common Newts, and they are small - about 10cm (4") in length. They are also no longer common, although not as rare as Great Crested Newts.

    Celia
    x

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  9. Fabulous... and clever you for figuring out a way of photographing them!

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  10. We had common and great crested in out old garden pond - nothing at all here, yet it's only about 4 miles away. The great cresteds' nearest known site was half a mile away in the pond near a golf course. Some newt walked half a mile to get to our pond!

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  11. neat! thanks for sharing:) such a busy evening it was...

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  12. I think you have Great Crested Newts there, judging from the bottom photograph

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  13. Oh, 'Springwatch' will want you! Clever shots.

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  14. Thank you Kerry - we are members of Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

    Not sure about them being Great Crested Newts - the male Common Newt grows a large wavy fin along his back in the mating season. I think Great Crested Newts are larger and have a warty skin, the crest is very spectacular - more so than these.

    Springwatch! Do you think so Chrissie? Should I be expecting Chris Packham or Martin Hughes-Games to call in?

    Celia
    x

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  15. I am so jealous of your newts! Water forget me not you say. Hmmm-add that to my shopping list.

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  16. Amazing photos of your newt safari - their romantic trysts on water forget-me-not is such lovely thought!

    Jeanne x

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  17. I think it's great that you are encouraging the newts. Well done for getting the photos.

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  18. Hi Threadspider - I'm sure they like other leaves too, but Water Forget-me-not leaves are perfect.

    Hi Matron - Newts are like mini-dragons - enchanting!

    Hi Jeanne - It's eye-opening witnessing the lives of our newts!

    Hi Lynne - We're thrilled our small pond is such a successful habitat.

    Celia
    x

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