Caught In The Act

I think I mentioned a few days ago that we have the odd visit of a Muntjac or two in our garden. They’ve always been fleeting visits with little time for me to grab the camera and take a photograph but yesterday, luck was with us as we spied him the other side of our lake nibbling away on the young green shoots on our Weeping Willows.

I’ve often wondered if we don’t miss half the wildlife that come into our garden due to the way the house is positioned: for a great view of the lake you need to be in kitchen. On the other hand it means that the kitchen is rather like a hide and we can spy on visiting creatures without them seeing us.

Yesterday was extra special as it was the first time in quite a while that we had some evening rays of sunshine. The last few days were filled with monotonous rain, heavy downpours accompanied by hailstones, high winds and claps of thunder. Truly Spring in all its glory!

Some Sad and Some Better News

Disaster struck yesterday when one of Nigel’s cat (Ginger) killed 4 of Mrs Duck’s babies. I know it was him because I caught him in the act,  having been alerted to something serious happening by Mrs Duck’s insistent squawking. I buried three little bodies but couldn’t grab the one he had in his mouth. I am gutted. The problem of course is that she’s been showing them ‘the garden’, waddling around with her brood in tow who, now a little stronger, are whizzing off in all directions exploring everything. Their bravery cost them their lives.

On a happier note we have a Moorhen nesting in the reeds lovingly looked after by hubby Moorhen. This morning I thought I’d take a photo of the lake to show you how it looks before I start my long labour of love and turn it into something very special for the wildlife visiting our garden. Once outside I realised I had the wrong lens on my camera (telephoto) but in fact this turned out to be happy error as I captured Mr Moorhen bringing new nesting material for Mrs Moorhen. Not a brilliant photo but you can see the little reed in his beak!

More ‘baby’ news as we have a couple of Jackdaws nesting in one of our chimney tops. They’ve been a funny couple, falling down our chimney in the early days of nest building. This caused great excitement with the dogs (not to mention the cats) as we’d find one of the Jackdaws perched on a picture frame with soot scattered everywhere. The poor things fell down four times before they got the bottom of the nest right. Cleverly, with their nest so close to the house they’re sneakily taking advantage of the most excellent of bird tables that a kind lady (me) fills with all manner of nice treats every morning. Bed & Breakfast at its best I’d say!

Just Born Ducklings

It’s been a busy time here at Belaugh. Christmas and New Year happily celebrated with family and friends and then filming (and editing) a few winter weddings (which you can read all about on Alice Barker Images).

January and February went past in a blink of an eye, as did March, but April slowed down enough for me to sit and think how I was going to sort out the different parts of the garden and of course the lake. With so much wildlife (okay, mainly birds, ducks and the odd Muntjac or two) visiting our garden it seemed a natural step to make it as wildlife friendly as possible – with one proviso – I’d only plant British native plants and make it as bee friendly as I could.

This is when the internet is so wonderful! Sat warmly indoors well away from inclement English weather, I crawled this remarkable tool looking for wildlife plants specialists. I particularly liked The Wildflower Shop, Popular Plants and Burncoose Nurseries where I found exactly what I was looking for – after reading two super books: Gardening for Butterflies, Bees and other beneficial insects by Jan Miller-Klein and The Bee Garden by Maureen Little. As you can imagine, with 5 acres and the lake to contend with, I shall quickly become one of their favoured customers . . .

And with Spring comes babies! Mr & Mrs Duck have just been blessed with 17 gorgeous baby ducklings who are now discovering the delights of playing and paddling around in water. I’ll keep you all posted on their progress.

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