My rescue missions in the wood pile
PUBLISHED: 16:01 20 February 2018
(c) copyright citizenside.com
Nature: Pam Taylor finds herself with an unexpected series of rescues to perform.
I seem to have been in rescue mode recently. Throughout the colder weeks of winter I have been adding the warmth of a log burner to my standard heating. This has meant raiding the wood pile on a regular basis. Until the last few days all I’ve come across in the pile is logs. Now, various forms of wildlife have begun to turn up as well.
First I came across a couple of torpid peacock butterflies which I carefully rehomed in the shed next to others I’d found hibernating there. Next I came across a chrysalis which I tucked below some debris in a corner to await spring. My third discovery, right at the bottom of one stack, was a smooth newt.
I couldn’t leave it exposed, so I scooped it up into my palm. It felt cold to the touch and was quite stiff, so I feared it was dead, but no, a toe moved. Unlike the butterflies I couldn’t just tuck it in with others of its kind. I had to think of another solution. Rightly or wrongly I decided to warm it up in my hands until it was just capable of movement. It didn’t take long.
The heat of my hands and a little warm breath blown on its back soon had it aware of its surroundings. Not wishing to disturb it again later this winter in the woodpile, I took it instead to a old pile of bricks. Here I found a crevice and held the newt facing into the dark slit. Taking the hint, the newt headed slowly into safety, away from prying eyes. Feeling that I had done all I could for its survival, I left it in peace and returned to collecting logs.
My final rescue was rather less dramatic, but more amusing. As I removed the gradually decaying wooden lid from the water butt to fill a small watering can, several tiny creatures suddenly jumped onto the water’s surface. They were obviously alive, but so small I had to study one with a hand lens after saving the others. The creature was like two tiny blobs of jelly with six legs and big, black eyes; a kind of globular springtail.