14 February 2016

What's that in my garden mini pond? Newts and more.

A newt!! for the first time in 24 years I found a newt in our garden!
I'd been clearing some leaves from one of our several little mini "frog ponds" and was astonished to see I'd disturbed a newt...

Make a Mini-pond in your garden (photo M.Malcher)

There is no photo evidence because my immediate concern was to return it safely home, back into the pond. The newt was about 5 inches / 13cm long, black, very wriggly with a orange belly covered in black spots. I can not say with certainty which species of newt had become our neighbour; a Smooth Newt, perhaps, or less likely, a young Great Crested Newt.

Our garden is not large, nor do we have a large pond, but our "frog puddles" are always home to frogs throughout the summer. In fact these miniature ponds and wet places attract a variety of wildlife, birds and bees come to drink and we see dragonflies too. Fox comes to drink as well and once we used to have hedgehogs.

This is the kind of wildlife gardening that doesn't cost you a bomb at the garden centre! A washing up bowl or an old baking dish full of pebbles works just fine. Just make sure that creatures can climb out safely once they've got in the water. After that, all that's needed is a very occasional removal of excess vegetation/old leaves and to top up your mini pond with rainwater once in a while, particularly during hot weather.

So, even if you only have a tiny garden, make a space for wildlife and you'll be amazed at the variety of creatures that will visit.

You may also like: 

How to recognise British Amphibians

How to create a Mini-Pond

Note: There is a new Great Crested Newt pilot project being run by Natural England in conjunction with Woking Borough Council : "More details about this pilot project, and how developers can get involved, will be made available in due course." (WBC website 14/2/16)