Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
comma male newt

From a Full Stop to a Comma

Friday 31st March 2000
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male newt newt ICE ON THE POND again. The frost on the grass soon melts away and it is still and sunny enough to enjoy breakfast on the patio.

After an hour or two in the studio working on the computer, I take my writing outdoors too. In my coffee break I wander down to the pond.

male newt The Frog tadpoles have hatched, hundreds of them. They've gathered in the sunshine on the green jelly of their spawn in a mass like black vermicelli. A female Common Newt pushes through the jelly like a child wading through a roomful of plastic balls. Just the tail of a male newt sticks out from the jelly. The tail is blade-shaped, crimped at the edges and decorated with spots, stripes and bands of colour, like the pennant carried by a medieval herald.

The newts sit at the edge of the mass of little tadpoles and pick them off one at a time, like guests dipping into the seafood at a sushi bar.

frogspawn Life for a tadpole starts with a large black full stop in the the jelly of the frogspawn, it progresses to a fat comma and, if it gets beyond this sushi bar stage, it swims off as a letter 'S'.

comma A Comma butterfly punctuates its erratic flight through the garden with a short rest to sunbathe on the green leaves of the hawthorn.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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