Animal Ups and Downs

We don’t seem to have had the numbers of butterflies this year but have had a good range of species. Along with the usual Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Peacocks it was nice to see this Small Copper

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A range of Dragonfly species have been busy as usual. This one was laying eggs this week

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We have seen almost no hedgehogs here since the drought of 2018. Before that we would have several feeding every night. We do have the occasional rescued one brought to us for care. The latest was a sad story. Have been caught up in barbed wire for some time it was drastically dehydrated and maggot infested. It did not make it through the night.

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We normally see lots of frogs in the long grass at this time of year. Not so many this year but have come across three toads within a couple of weeks

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We have seen a weasel popping up a couple of times in the six years we have been here. Recently we came across a single kit. Had it got left behind when a female moved her litter or was t here another explanation. It was gone in the morning.

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We had heard unwelcome tales of mink in the surrounding brooks. This week we saw some evidence for ourselves

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Slipping into Darkness

Each day the light is fading earlier

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as the moon takes over

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Swallows are planning their departure

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and bees busy filling up

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Down at the lake

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dragonflies are still active

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and above Goldfinches chatter

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excited about the seeding thistles

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Other fruits spread their seeds

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and spores

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some come our way

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As the season slips into the impending darkness that is due to arrive over the next few months we keep our focus on the patches of light

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Word is getting around..

Word is getting around

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that our rabbits have good dinners

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and don’t have to nibble old grass

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as they are supplied with a wide range of fresh salad

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and can then choose to chill

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or play

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or even spend time with aliens

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in their pleasant summer quarters

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safe in the knowledge that come winter 

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their indoor accommodation will welcome them

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to a world of indoor high-rise living

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currently being fitted out with heat and light

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So, we have applicants knocking on the door

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Six legs good, 1000 legs better

A few recent small Gribin Isaf residents…

Is this one of the inconspicuous ladybirds or another type of beetle?  We have not been able to identify it yet. It has a lovely iridescent green head.

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The purple buddleia  has not attracted much this year but the white one by the lake has been busier.  This is one of our bees…

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…and on this recent day there was quite a sprinkling of tortoiseshells.

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The lake attracts a range of dragonflies and damselflies

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This plant – which is a mystery to us even though we planted it – is also by the lake and is attractive to insects

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Here is the plant when it was in bud

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We think this is the caterpillar of one of the hawkmoths. (Don’t confuse six true legs with extra prolegs)

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Some bees which aren’t ours

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And now this millipede

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count the legs

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definitely more than six.

A Tale of Two Ducklings

Ducks are social creatures so when, earlier this year, out of a dozen bought in hatching eggs

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only one actually hatched

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we had to find her a couple of friends from up the road

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She is a Cayuga and her adoptive siblings are Muscovies but they have got on ok together

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although she has preferred to watch

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at bath time

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When Cagney, our dependable Muscovy, went broody

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we installed her in a safe house and had another go, this time with our own eggs.

First to hatch was indeed a Cayuga

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but because Cayney was also sitting on Muscovy eggs, which take longer to hatch, she has to be taken into temporary custody

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from which she immediately tried to escape

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successfully

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earning the name Houdini.

No other eggs did hatch so for the second time we had a solitary duckling. At least this time he had a foster mother

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as long as Cagney would accept a seven day old reintroduction.

Which she did

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They set up home together

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Soon they were given a bit more space

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from which Houdini immediately escaped

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and went off to fraternise with the flock

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Spying some fellow Cayugas

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she tried to introduce herself

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but they weren’t interested

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Life would be easier if all our ducks were like this one

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Houdini the Duckling

Cagney

friend of James

Has successfully raised several duckling broods

and this month she has been sitting again

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But the clutch we put under her have come from a variety of sources. James is a bit indiscriminate

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The problem is – Muscovys are genetically very different from other breeds and have a a longer incubation time so there was a possibility the eggs might hatch at different times.

In the event, one egg hatched two days ago

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Looks like a pure bred Cayuga (nothing to do with Cagney or James) – Lucky and his ladies

must still be up to it.

Anyway, this individual needs care while Cagney sits tight a little longer. Then she can go back.

She is not amused about being all alone and would prefer our constant company if nothing else is available. To get it she will climb the bars

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squeeze through onto the table

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pretend she can fly

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and set off across the carpet

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