Saturday, 8 August 2009

Newt

A nice walk this morning, with the sun on our backs and a plaster on my blister..! Trotting along, suddenly Malcolm spotted this little creature on the path. A female Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris).
Not easy to distinguish male from female during the non-breeding period, you can tell this is a female as it has two black lines running down its back, the males having only one. The Smooth Newt is the most common species of newt in Britain - and indeed Europe - they breed in fresh water and hibernate over winter away from water, under logs, etc.
They are, like all newts, protected by law although they are not endangered.
Further on, these flowers were shining in the sun, Canadian Gold Rod (Solidago canadensis).
As the name suggests, it is not a native of Britain, but has been introduced from the United States. Originally brought here to brighten up our gardens, it quickly escaped and became naturalised in the countryside.
Another yellow flower enjoying the sun was the Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris).
Looking like small, yellow Snapdragons, they seem a little too exotic to be British Natives. Sometimes known as Butter and Eggs due to their colouring, they are related to the Antirrhinums or Snapdragons.
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