April 14, 2009

Life Outside My Doorstep.

Every spring, nature comes to life just outside the door to me terrace. I live close to a small water pond. There is a drain below the stairs, which leads the rainwater out onto the meadows close to the pond. As the terrace is facing west, the landing is a shielded, dark, often humid place, until the very afternoon, when sun heats it up. Especially in the spring when the sun is still lying low, the stairs receive sun first late in the day. I think this is why my landing is often visited by toads, frogs and newts. Sometimes by only one, but during a spring rain multitudes of them emerge from the drain.
The newts are called "Small Water Salamanders" in Danish and they do leave the hibernation in the end of February. As they are amphibians, they are coldblooded animals, which means that their body temperature is equal to the temperature of the surroundings. In the early spring, when it is still cold outside, they are easy to pick up (carefully), as their motion is limited by the cold. But, it only takes them just a couple of minutes to absorb the heat from a human hand and they become lively and eager to be on the move, as seen from the clip below.
In some way the sight of these little creatures is yet another true spring sign.
video

21 comments :

Jeanne said...

Hello, I have been reading your blogs for some time with great interest. I learn so much! Now that I am now a novice blogger myself as of this weekend I have officially become a follower! Your piece on the amphibians you see around your house is fascinating -how we view the world around us and the changing seasons can be specific from place to place. For me it is the tiny but beautfully formed grape hyacinths that pop up throughout my garden and become ever more abundent each spring. What a wonderful time of year!

steviewren said...

Protege, I'm envious of your sister having lived in such a beautiful place. I was so fortunate to visit there for a few days about 10 years ago. I got out my travel journal and reread what I wrote about the hotel in Montreux. It was in an old building across the street from the lake. Our room was a riot of mismatched colors and patterns. It was on the back side of the building and looked down onto the tiny courtyard between two buildings. We had a bird's eye view of the hotel laundry drying on clotheslines.

We took the lake approach to Chillon. That is a beautiful way to see how impregnable the fortress would have been a 1000 years ago. The mountains that surround the lake only add to the beauty of the scene. Your sister must have thought herself very lucky to live in such a place of natural beauty. You must have thought it as beautiful as I did.

Betsy said...

The newt and the toad make a handsome pair!

Hilary said...

What a great video. I couldn't help but hear the song "I'm Walkin' (yes, indeed" in my head. Too cute. :)

Michelle H. said...

Ahh! So that is what a newt looks like. Thanks for the picture.

I also see you redesigned your blog. I love it. It screams your personality.

Diane said...

I love your new header! It's gorgeous!

When Sundance was little, a frog/toad/whatever hopped out of the grass and right in front of him... he hopped, too, all 4 legs straight up... I nearly wet my pants and SO wished I'd caught it on video :)

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Watching animals is such a wonderful distraction, you're lucky to have these on your doorstep.

Julie Hibbard said...

LOVE lizards and spiders and bugs and frogs...LOVE them. So fun and OH so beautiful!!!

Gal Friday said...

I just love the purposeful stride of that little newt as he(she?) walked off your hand!!

I have not been lucky enough(or maybe not observant enough?)to have seen a newt or salamander in years. Used to catch them as a child(frogs and toads, as well).

I haven't noticed a garden toad in my garden yet, this season, but hope I will soon. Do you know it is a sign of a healthy environment if you have toads in your garden?

The new header photo and the script for your title is beautiful...

Mahmud Yussop said...

I like the spirit of you new header. Like what the Japanese say, design today's car to make yesterday's rollout obsolete. An improvement I envy. Nice video.

Protege said...

=Jeanne,
thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving such a kind comment. And thank you for showing an interest in my humble writing.
We have all been beginners at this, so don't I just know how you feel.;)
I agree, spring is a magical time. The small signs in nature, no matter what they are, do make the our lives part of its never ending circle.
Thank you again so much for the visit.;)

=steviewren,
my sister married a French Swiss man and lives now with her family in a beautiful old estate near the lake, with a stunning view of Mont Blanc. I have tried to persuade her to write a blog as well, I think she might need a push. When they were newly married, they lived just outside the magnificent cathedral in Lausanne, watching the calling of the time each night. It was like being back in medieval times.
I agree with you fully, the small cities and villages near the lake, including Montreux, are one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.;) How interesting that you have been there;)
Always glad when you stop by.;)

=Betsy,
yes, don't they? I thought it was so funny that the were there together but did not take much notice of each other. I so wish I would know what they are thinking.;))

=Hilary,
that would have been such a perfect music to it! You know, I am hearing it now all the time when I watch it myself. I only wish I knew how to edit my videos in imovie, do you know perhaps? I have tried, but I ca not make it work. Often the sound of my clips is too weird and I would much rather replace it with music.;))

=Michelle,
glad to have brought a bit of nature your way; I know you would appreciate it as I know how you fervently tried to save the tadpoles when you were kid.;)
Thank you for your compliment on my new header, I thought my blog was in need of a spring cleaning.;))

=Diane,
thank you, I am so glad you like it. The picture was taken from my windows last October.;)
I can imagine how funny Sundance must have looked jumping up like that!;) Animals can be hilarious, especially kittens and puppies.;))

=Reasons to Cheerful,
I agree, I love watching nature in any form and shape, whether it is stunning sunsets, new snow, colourful flowers or animals. It is all part of it's magic.;))

=Julie,
how extraordinary, most people do not like spiders. I have to admit I too am not to happy about them and I have tons of spiders in my house. But I try to like them as I know they are good for nature.;))
Thank you for your always kind and optimistic comments.;)

=Tina,
yes I was wondering too if it was a small girl perhaps.;)
Yes, I have toads living in my garden, they are large and fun when they hop away while I water my flowers. They hate to be disturbed this way.;)
I am glad you like the new header, I decide to give my blog a more personal feel.;))

=Mahmud,
I always love your wise comments, you know so many witty and wonderful aphorisms.;) I am very happy you find my new design an improvement, thank you so much;))

Hilary said...

I might be able to mess with it in raw form when I get home. You can send it to me if you like, and I'll give it a shot. I won't be home until the weekend though. :)

Claus said...

They're so tiny! Can they grow bigger? I don't think I would be afraid of them, but I don't think I could put them in my hand. Very brave! ;-)

Blog Princess G said...

What a dear little creature. That's a lovely video Protege, thanks for sharing it. :)

sallymandy said...

So cute. I love these little guys. Thanks Protege.

Protege said...

=Hilary,
that could be fun, if you figure something out about the sound, please let me know. I will try to find the original, thank you so much.;))

=Claus,
no, they do not grow bigger.;) That might be scary, if they did.;) I would not put them in my hand either in that case. But being small and harmless, holding them gently is very sweet.;))

=BPG,
glad you enjoyed this little piece of close-by nature.;)

=sallymandy,
I am happy too like seeing these little creatures; they have by now retreated, meaning that spring is peaking;))

Hilary said...

I'm home.. send it if you have it. :)

Snowbrush said...

The lizard looks like he would be at home here in Oregon, USA.

Protege said...

=Hilary,
I will, thank you again.;))

=Snowbrush,
it is very possible, as the nature there might be similar to the Scandinavian.;)
Thank you so much for stopping by.;))

Noelle Chantal said...

The clip of the crawling Salamander is so cute! hehe But I hate frogs, I'm scared of them because they hop and hop. hehe Your blog is really interesting, Protege. I see and learn a lot from here. Good choice of topics as always. :)

Protege said...

=Noelle,
I do not mind frogs nor snakes, but I hate insects. I will run screaming away from spiders and I really have to control myself not to freak out.;)) I am happy you find what I post interesting, that is a great compliment.;)