One of the joys of having our own garden is the constant discovery of new wildlife species within it. Birds are our most obvious visitors but over the last couple of years we have begun to realise just how much variety is out there. Spiders, Moths, Slugs, Foxes, Hedgehogs and more recently Frogs and Water Beetles are just the tip of an ever expanding iceberg. The abundance and appearance of several of these species is down to the work we’ve been doing to try and improve the quality of habitats available. Up until last month however we’d yet to find a reptile on our land despite both Slow Worms and Grass Snakes being spotted just the other side of the fence. That’s all changed now though with the discovery of a Common Lizard sunning itself on the house (not sure which is more unusual, the appearance of a lizard or the fact that it was sunny!).
It posed perfectly while I grabbed a couple of photos but this sadly may have been down to the injuries it was carrying. One of its rear legs was crushed beyond use and the tail was missing, all suggestive that this individual may have fallen victim to one of the local feral cats. I kept checking on it throughout the day but it remained in the same place until the sun had moved round, casting the area into shade. Hopefully it found a safe place to recuperate though I’ve yet to see it again.
On a smaller scale I found another Orb Web Spider in the garden and managed to get a decent photograph despite its small size. For the exact species I am currently torn between the very similar Metellina segmentata and Metellina mengei, though I think the former is the more likely.
Speaking of spiders there was a fascinating piece on the BBC’s Autumnwatch program last night featuring the mating story of two House Spiders. If you live in the UK I highly recommend looking it up on iPlayer as it was a stunning film that succeeded in showing these normally unwanted visitors in a new light. I’ll certainly think twice next time I get asked by Emma to remove one from the house. Do you think she’d notice if I merely moved them out of sight?