Today was spent looking at underwater video footage from the garden pond. Its fascinating watching little pond creatures especially newts.
We have 2 types of newts in the garden pond and they have been busy laying eggs.
The problem this year was the newts arrived early to the pond given the very mild winter. They started their courtship before any vegetation started to really grow around the pond. The newts here lay their eggs on plants the cascade over the waters edge, so this year I gave them a little helping hand.
I make artificial egg laying strips for them until everywhere greened up around the pond, and this is how I made them.
Black bin bag, stones, scissors and string.
Make egg laying strips:
Measure suitable length from the bottom (sealed end) of the bin bag upwards. (this will depend on how deep your pond is) I made mine about 10 inches. Now cut straight across the bag.
Measure across the bottom half way and cut the bag in two.
Next get one half and start to cut strips down towards the sealed end of the bag but stop about 3/4 of the way down.
Do the same with the other half of the bin bag.
Now open up each half. You will have a section in the middle of each which has not been cut in to. Place a stone inside this area and gather the strips up around it.
Now tie string around the strips to keep the stone in. Do the same with the other and there you have newt egg laying strips.
When you put them in the water the stone helps to weigh them down, all you need to do is maybe help separate the strips a bit when submerged.
What the newts thought of them:
As soon as I put the strips into the pond, the newts were curious and came over to have a look at them. Check my little video out here
The newts like them as they mimic the leaves of submerged plants and they are flexible enough for the newt to place an egg on a strip and fold it over like a little parcel to protect it.
The pond is now full of vegetation cascading over the sides so the newts have many options of places to lay eggs.
Here is a photo of a smooth newt egg folded up on a blade of grass. It is greyish in colour with a clear jelly around it which differs from great crested newt eggs which are white in colour.