A different world – meadow by night

29th June 2009, Monday

A meadow is a different place at night.  The hum of bees is replaced by the hum of midges, and a totally different suite of animals come out to forage.  Slugs and snails are abundant, one of the reasons why slow-worm do so well in this habitat.  At this time of the year newts are also common here, with three smooth newts observed clambering over the plant stems this evening in a surprisingly three dimensional way.

They do well in this habitat because it offers shelter from desiccation and predators.  The base of the lawn is surprisingly damp at the moment, and is full of the slow moving invertebrates these slow-moving vertebrates feed on.  And feed they must because they are painfully thin at the moment after the rigours of the breeding season.  As this animal moved away the hip bones protruded worryingly under the skin behind the back legs.

Which leaves me with a slight dilemma. If I delay cutting the grass I think the clover may start to rot and produce useless hay. But I will have to relocate the newts in a productive habitat, and frogs and toads no doubt too!