Wednesday, 22 May 2013

This year's fox cubs

The other night, Moma Vixen brought her cubs into the garden to introduce them to us. The first time I looked up, I just saw this one...

Suddenly, it looked round...

And up trotted its sibling.

One decided to inspect the fox food bowl. Although there was food in it, it wasn't sure how to get it out. It peered in, sniffed and gave up.

They were making such a noise, chasing and yipping, that the larger birds came down to decide just how much of a threat these small furry creatures were.

The nearer cub decided it didn't like the magpie staring at it and chased it off.

I have a feeling we might be seeing a lot more of this playful twosome. And who knows, there might even be a third, lurking shyly in the den. One year, we thought there were only two and in fact there were four!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Thieving magpies!

The magpies have cottoned on to the fact that we feed Charlie, the ginger cat, outside and are now helping themselves to any leftovers in his bowl. They sit on the privet hedge and survey the area to make sure the cats and fox aren't around, then swoop down and pick up what they can. They love cat biscuits, which they fly to the birds' water dish with, then dunk them to soften them. They're pretty bright, those magpies, and beautiful, too, with that glorious kingfisher blue on their wings. A couple of days ago, the parent birds took their youngster to the water dish and were teaching him how to drink. I expect he or she will be joining them soon on their cat food raids.

The vixen is weaning the cubs now. She eats a little food herself, then stuffs her mouth with as much as she can carry and scoots through the hedge with it. I dread the day the house next door sells. It needs renovating, so will probably go to a developer who will fill the garden with building gear. I hope she has a safe place to remove her family to. The fox path that she has worn in the grass goes down and across our garden, through the hedge, across next door's lawn and down to the bottom, but whatever happens next door, she will still be able to access our garden from the field at the bottom. Let's hope that never gets built on, as the local wildlife would really suffer. Hopefully, the old oak trees have preservation orders on them so any building would be beyond the tree-line. Fingers crossed...

Friday, 10 May 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker seeks new home!

For those of you who didn't see my post on Facebook, the other day I was lucky enough to be able to grab my camera in time to snap this woodpecker checking out the nest box which hasn't been occupied since it was put up three years ago, apart from one cold night when some blue tits took shelter in it. I do hope something nests in it this year. It would be thrilling if it was the woodpeckers!