Friday 30 March 2012: Cherry blossom...
A quick garden blip today, as Pete and I have been laying the kitchen floor. This proved to be moderately nerve-wracking and fairly time-consuming, but it's done now and looks fairly professional, despite one or two struggles during the process.
Alex was invited to a newt training evening at Castor Hanglands NNR, so I agreed to take him up there, and walk the dogs while they were newt-spotting. We arrived at the appointed place and time, but no-one else was there... A little while later Alex received a phone call, saying the leader and the rest of the participants were at Castor Hanglands, but in the wrong place and had no idea how to get to the ponds. Luckily I was able to guide them, but it meant that they turned up about 40 minutes late. The dogs were very puzzled at having to wait around for so long before their walk!
When everyone else arrived I took the dogs for a brisk walk in the dusk, and then rejoined the group for a short while at the end. There were lots of palmate newts (a primarily northern and western species which is very rare in Cambridgeshire), some smooth newts and toads, and eventually, after a lot of searching, one great crested newt was sighted. The highlight of the evening was watching smooth and palmate newts gobbling up frog spawn in a veritable feeding frenzy - sucking the embryo tadpoles out of the surrounding jelly - quite an amazing sight!