This is a first for me ... this is the terrestrial-phase eastern red-spotted newt, also known as a Red Eft. When we were out on our nature hike this morning, there were hundreds of them making their way from the woods towards the vernal ponds where they will convert to their aquatic/adult phase. The amphibian expert in the group said that these were all first and second year newts. When they convert to their aquatic phase, they will lose the bright red color. They also apparently have some sort of toxin in their skins during the terrestrial phase which makes them distasteful to birds - nature's way of preserving the species. If you want to see a shot that shows off the spots on its back, click here
And since this is apparently, a Red Balloon Day for me (1,000 blips --- wow!), I thought a Red Eft would be appropriate.
In addition this tiny, beautiful creature, I also saw my first ever Spotted Salamander , also an immature and only a couple of inches long (adults of these species can reach 9 inches in length). I love seeing things like this, so there was no doubt for me as to what my blip today would be.
So, 1000 blips ... and the only day I missed was Day 2. I certainly never expected any of this when I posted my first entry in July of 2011. I had no expectations and no real plan. And now...well, I've become a much, much better photographer; I've rekindled a deep and abiding love of nature; I've lost my life-long fear of spiders; and I've gained so many wonderful friendships. It has been a joy to meet many of you in person and to exchange comments with others who I may never meet in person. I never expected to make such good friends here. My hubs and I are headed into some major life-changes in the months ahead, and I take comfort in knowing that my blip-friends will be along for the ride...
You guys all rock. My Red Balloon is for you.