First red eft of 2024

3 Spring Salamanders

They are sleepy, but they’re up and moving!

Salamanders are fun to look for after a good soaking rain, and we’ve had several recently. Sallies don’t particularly like the cold spring weather, but today was warm enough to bring some up where I could find them.

Today Beezus hiked with me. She adores hiking, but fortunately, she’s not interested in salamanders. And she never minds my slow pace and endless poking around.

Miz Bee ahead on the trail
Miz Bee ahead on the trail

My first find was this delightful red eft. She was sitting on a twig just underneath the leaf litter, which I was brushing through while looking for earthstars.

First red eft of 2024
First red eft of 2024

Red efts are Eastern newts in their land or terrestrial stage. They are born in water, grow for about three months, then head off overland to explore for a few years. Eventually they lose this bright coloring (which signifies toxins and warns off predators) and go back into the water.

The adult aquatic newts are olive green with a yellow belly. I used to have one in an aquarium when I was a child; I think they are still grown and sold as pets.

I try to be slow and careful when I turn over rocks and logs in the woods. You don’t want to surprise a snake. And while I have turned up a few snakes here and there, I mostly find salamanders, worms, and roly-polies or other isopods.

I got a double reward under this waterlogged stump: two pretty salamanders.

Double salamander find
Double salamander find

Finally, I made a little offering of magnolia cones and all the contents of my pockets. You may be able to make out the tiny bunch of dried fox grapes at the top of the photo; I love finding grapes and their curly-twisty vines.

Offering with magnolia cones, nuts, and galls
Offering with magnolia cones, nuts, and galls

2 comments on “3 Spring Salamanders

  1. Beautiful, Lisa. I love the precision and economy of your language, and the precision and wonder of your photographs. The idea of making an offering is something we should all have, and act on, following your example.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Thanks, Maura. The “offerings” idea got started for me when I would gather up nuts into a pile for the chipmunks, mice, and other sharp-toothed furries of the woods. And it quickly grew into a way to be mindful of and grateful for all the gifts of the mountain. Plus I enjoyed taking the time to make my little arrangements!

Leave a Reply