This may not be good news but we might as well enjoy the light
as it filters through the hellebores
The warmth has persuaded the first daffodils to open up
and the crocuses continue to shine
enticing a pair of Peacocks
The Cayugas have to take a bath
and Jessie finds training…
… all a bit much and needs a little lie down in the sun
Egg production is slowly increasing, here is today’s haul
And none of them are thanks to these freeloaders, who have to flaunt their handsomeness in order to stick around
and Darling remains in residence
The sun may be shining
The bees may be buzzing
may be laying their first eggs
Buds may be bursting
and the nights may be bright
but hedgehogs should still be hibernating.
This little one spends all night looking for food. There at 9 pm
still searching at 3 am
and still at it when it is six o’clock in the morning.
Although Seven degrees is not cold, he has been doing this even when temperatures were as low as one degree. So he should only be coming out occasionally for a top up, not constantly hunting for food. We decide to take him into our care.
Weighing just 460g he will be fattened up with the other guests to return outside when the real Spring comes. Could well be a previously fattened up hog we released last summer after the drought.
Jessie is developing her skills
Here learning the difference between
Duck watching is a favourite
As the sun disappears, after a day of non-stop duty
and the moon takes over the cloudless sky
a busy day comes to an end.
Blue Tits have turned their mind to mate attraction, laying claim to desirable residences and shouting about them very loudly.
“This one is mine”
is probably unaware that its chosen home
is fitted with a camera inside.
In the trees down the valley
a Mistle Thrush shouts its claim.
A tortoiseshell is tempted from overwintering in the house to take a trip outside
and the crocuses
see if they can open just a little bit wider
Every winter our resident bird population grows a thousand fold
as the Starlings descend
taking over the fields
taking over the trees
and taking over the feeders
At the end of every afternoon they head off South-West to roost
All except one
Darling the Starling has decided to roost with some of the hens
It does not seem to have difficulty flying as it heads off each day but it is either deficient or ostracised
as it is now part of this flock
Cagney looks on
The sun is out, temperature rising, promise of things ahead?
During the summer drought our hedgehog population vanished. In previous years it was not unusual to see five or six individuals visit the feeding bowls.
The parched hard ground made a diet of beetles and worms impossible to find. In addition we had evidence of a very hungry badger (who would also normally feed on worms) increasing its range in search of food – which might well have included hedgehogs. We did care for and release 2 summer hoglets, where their mothers had probably died as a result of badgers or the drought. And this winter we have had two vet referrals living in the hoggery hostel, now semi-hibernating.
As we have a feral cat that does the rounds every night,
our hedgehog feeder now looks like this
with a supposed cat-proof maze inside
We have seen the cat weasel its way through there but it must have had some good hunting as this week it has a try
and walks away
One never knows when a hibernating hedgehog is going to get up for a quick snack so this week we were pleased to see this had happened
definitely not a cat
Last night we got further evidence
Good to see activity again.
Here is a quick round up of some pictures from the last seven days…
Snow on the ground always provides a new way of seeing familiar shapes:
Likewise, ice gives new form to familiar places
The ducks spent a lot of time eating snow and ice
or just blending in
The pigs just take it in their stride
Bird numbers around the feeders have been high. There were up to a hundred tits and other small birds in the trees and bushes around this feeder this morning
By contrast, a walk through the surrounding fields is very quiet.
On our patch the Blue Tits are ever present
and the Robins can always be relied on to pop up
different individuals each having their own territory (although this is the same one!)
Here the starlings head off to roost at the end of the day
It is very seldom to have a day without some bit brightness in the sky
or on the surrounding hills
and shafts of light provide new images as the year shifts their angle