Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Beakstuffers Anonymous

They are lined up watching and waiting. As the crumbs are flying from my hand, before they have settled on the grass, they are in the air, black wings whirring. Occasionally grey wings beat them to it, but not usually. I have nicknamed them The Beakstuffers as I have never known crows that are so talented at scouring the lawn and cramming their beaks until not one crumb is left for any other feathered creature, not even the robin agitatedly bobbing along the back of the garden bench, waiting his turn.

This morning, a lone magpie zoomed in, snatched and morsel and fled before Crow Patrol could buzz him. At the same time, a fat, sleek wood pigeon, immune to the crows' taunts, plodded about, picking up what it could. That pigeon is the real winner because when my partner flaps his arms to scare the Beakstuffers away, the pigeon is the only one who takes no notice and simply carries on pecking and ambling.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fox cub in autumn

Olive the fox cub (don't think it's Oliver as it always squats rather than lifting its leg) is older and getting its full brush. It is still just as curious, and just as keen on begging for food. As I ate my lunch today, it sat fixing me with a wistful gaze until I shared my ham with it. I threw out the white cat biscuits that Flad hates and just as it was eating them, its mother the vixen hurled herself at it bit her progeny on the back, barged it aside and finished the biscuits herself. So much for maternal love. But I suppose this is the time of year when cubs are expected to scatter and find their own foraging round, and our garden has been the vixen's for the past couple of years. I don't think Olive is going to give it up in a hurry, though. She has it far too easy here.

Flad the cat ignores it. In fact, at one moment today he was on the bench and the fox cub was underneath it.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Garden spiders

Although I hate getting my face in a web - not just because of the sensation, but because I am clumsily destroying such a wonderful work of skill and art - I have to say that garden spiders, in their soft, golden-brown, stripy glory, are handsome, industrious creatures. This one was stationed itself strategically near the pond, where it can catch midges and mosquitoes.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Deer v cat

Just saw a most amazing sight - a muntjac deer chasing poor old Flad, the cat, up the garden. Once Flad had dived into the hedge, the deer ran off down the garden and into the fields beyond. Wonder if it is a doe with kids who thought Flad was a threat?

Monday, 6 October 2008

Sudden invasion of Bluetits

There used to be tons of bluetits in the garden but this year we have hardly seen one - until now. Suddenly, they are everywhere, flitting between the trees so that it is hard to tell what is a whizzing bluetit and what is a whirling leaf blown on the wind. Wonder what has brought them back and, even more mysterious, where they have come from, and where they have been?