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My wildlife week

My wildlife week started somewhat equivocally with a gift - the cat presented me with a freshly killed weasel. Sad that it was dead, but pleased to know that we definitely had them and how else would I have been able to handle one and admire its beauty and sleek, lethal capacity?
The next morning was better, as I watched from the front window while a rabbit explored the gateway and the grass at the edge of our yard, before hopping back into the neighbouring field. Rabbit numbers are back up, I hope that doesn't mean we are due more myxomatosis, that has devastated the population more than once since we've lived here. Horrible disease, I actually killed a rabbit myself once, to put it out of its misery, when I found it suffering in a ditch.
Third day was even better, as a well grown leveret came down and explored all round the front yard, just moments after I had let the dogs in from their pen. Not a care in the world, sitting on the gravel right before our eyes. One lives in our field and visits the garden regularly, it's lovely to see it, but we don't often get such a good view!
A few quiet days followed, just the great tit family and the woodpeckers pecking their way through fat balls and peanuts and trying to feed the goose and ducks without feeding the rats.
The finale this morning. Daughter asked if the dogs' barking had disturbed me. (No)
They had a reason she said. She'd let them out into their pen and they got very excited.
On investigation she found a big fat hedgehog!!
Dogs in, hoggy made its own way out under the picket fence. We have seen them here before, but not for quite a few years now and we know there is a healthy badger population, so it is good to see that they can still thrive.
I've got a couple of woodpiles already and there is loads of cover, the garden is a complete jungle at the moment. I'll put some more wood around at strategic points and there might be more help then from the wildlife on slug and snail control and on mice too!
It really feels as if my wildlife gardening approach might be making a difference here. Though we are surrounded by green fields, they are regularly grazed and there are no hedges, just stone walls and wire fences, so there is only limited shelter for hedgehogs or other small mammals, so my couple of acres of field and gardens can really count.
A stoat or two would be good though, or  even a pine marten (I've got a couple of pine trees ;)) to get rat numbers down! :)


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,005
    Brilliant  :)
    Weasels are definitely one of my favourite little creatures. We used to get one at the last house which liked running round the conservatory window ledges and having a look in  :)
    I won't do the old joke about stoats and weasels though....

    The pine martens are also good predators of grey squirrels, so it's all good  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,402
    @Fairygirl Squirrels are one thing I have never seen here :)
    Though there must be plenty nearby, the forest is just 2  fields away, I assume that the wide open spaces without cover have prevented them coming here. There are deer in the forest too and we have seen them in the farther field on occasion, but they have never ventured here either. Lovely to see them but not garden friendly!
    Nor are sheep. Mine recently pushed down the gate of my veg garden, broke both the latch and the safety bungee and trashed it completely.
    Stripped every leaf off the fruit bushes, including blackberries and rhubarb, wiped out the peas and beans and what they didn't eat they trampled - chives, courgettes, strawberries, giant scabious and a big geranium in the perennial patch. Utter devastation. 
    Daughter was stressing that the rhubarb would kill them, but frankly, at that point I didn't care! Note: It can't be that poisonous, there were no ill effects at all!
    I spent a few days clearing  some of the beds and bought some little plants at the GC just so I could hope for some kind of crop,  to keep my sanity, though how they will fare remains to be seen. Not long before I can plant some Aguadulce beans though :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,005
    No , sheep and deer are worse than rabbits!  :D
    We don't get deer round here very often, but they are present. I did leave the house recently to do a hill, and when I got to the end of the road, one was exiting the National Trust garden across from me, and trotting along the road to the farm.  :)
    There's a little herd of them next to the motorway in this area too.  Been there years.

    Hope you get some sort of crop - or an electric fence will be your next step  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,680
    No Sheep here, but Red Deer on the Moor are increasingly coming into the garden and wreaking havoc.
    Plenty of Badgers and Foxes, and used to have Water Voles in the stream, until a local cat did for them.
    Far too many Grey Squirrels, which over the years have learnt how to get into every new type of bird feeder I try.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • Squirrels with us as well. They take all the hazelnuts before we can!
    Had 9 small tortoiseshell butterflies on the Bud. globosa, all clustered around 2 flower spikes and not squabbling.
    Found a dead brown long eared bat on the garden path on Monday. Sad that it was dead but pleased that they are around somewhere. We have 2 bat boxes but not being used. Maybe they will this winter.
    Had a live grass snake a week ago abot 3 foot long. Very beautiful.
    Had about 20 geese fly over yesterday all honking like mad.
    Buzzards have been mewing for days now. Not sure why.
    And a robin was singing yesterday, getting ready to warn others that this was his patch.
  • BigladBiglad Posts: 2,889
    The Shauns wreak havoc here as well @Buttercupdays :( You seem to have a good spread of 'welcome' wildlife though.

    East Lancs
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,005
    I like a sheep...couldn't eat a whole one....
    Little juvenile robin here today. He was a bit bedraggled in the rain 

    Time of year for the buzzards @bertrand-mabel. :)
    We have lots of them around here. They're common here anyway - lots of good habitat.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • cornellycornelly Posts: 969
    Lovely wildlife I read, do get plenty of birds, used to get rabbit's, I bought and partially buried chicken wire to deter them, grey squirrels not seen since I greased the bird feeder poles, we have a regular hedgehog, cleans the slabs below the bird feeders nightly, we are informed that it has arrived by one of next doors dogs barking which thankfully doesn't seem to effect it, he is so welcome, in the top end of the garden which is extensive, there is a large heap of wood in various sizes, it I believe is the hedgehogs home.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,402
    @Biglad I can hardly complain, they're my sheep!
    They are very good at getting out or in to places because of their genes. We started with Soays, small, primitive sheep from St Kilda, tough, undemanding and born to climb cliffs and rocks. then we added some Welsh Mountains, bigger and with better wool, but otherwise similar. We ran separate bloodlines for a long time, but as numbers grew and the years went by we let them mix. Our flock are mongrels really,  but some are very Soay like and others very Welsh. They come in several shades of brown or white or black, or a bit of both.
    They are intelligent, persistent, and many are good at jumping, so keeping them in can be a challenge. We've had some could clear a 5ft gate from a standing start! A couple we had were commuters - they would jump out in the morning to savour the delicacies in the garden, then jump back in again before feeding time. Wanda would always head straight for the Heleniums , so I could tell she'd been out even if I hadn't seen her :)
    We've raised all the fences now, higher than you need for normal sheep, but we still have to tie the gates because they have learned how to jiggle the catches!
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    hoggy made its own way out under the picket fence. We have seen them here before, but not for quite a few years now

    Maybe because of the cats and dogs.

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