Thursday, May 23, 2013

Puddle ducks and other creatures

In the garden

One day last week we had some sun and so I got out the pressure washer and attacked the patio.  It's amazing how dirty it gets over winter.

From green to clean
As soon as I'd finished the ducks appeared.  No puddle is too small to investigate.

Tasting the waters!
I've written before about their ridiculous habit of sticking their heads into the hole for the washing pole but I've never managed to catch them in action before;

I'm going in
Ah, that's better!
The sun made everything come to life and these tulips looked so vibrant in the sunshine.

Later in the afternoon, when the sun had disappeared and the tulips closed up, we had a little visitor; this cheeky little chappy hippety-hopped all over the patio then went down the steps to dig some holes in the lawn!

Cheeky bunny
I moved the pedestal birdbath from the far end of the patio to be nearer the house so we'd have a better view of the bathers.  It was funny watching the little wagtail come for his afternoon bath. He arrived, as usual on the edge of the garage roof, down onto the fence, over to the dining chair then onto the rosemary bush which is next to where the bath was before. He looked around, flew onto the table and then another chair and finally made his way onto the bath in its new position.  

The white tape in the background is from when the horses came in to graze the grass - we do that every year to keep the fertility down and encourage the wildflowers. As I look through the window now the whole area is covered in buttercups and not only does it look wonderful, the insects love it too.

Found it!

I like to have a paddle before I go right in
Then I fluff up my feathers and have a good preening session

The same day I spotted Mrs Bunny in the orchard.  If you look closely you'll see she has a mouthful of grass.  She was scrabbling around to get lots of dry grass in her mouth and then scampering away into the undergrowth by my potting shed to emerge a few minutes later and repeat the process. Nest building methinks - as if there aren't enough rabbits on our land already!

Busy bunny
Speaking of nests, here's one that was ill-advised.  This large rubble sack, half full of aggregate, is in a shady part of front garden. I noticed a pair of robins flying in and out one afternoon and I realised they must have babies in there.  

Robins are notorious for building their nests in strange places (in agricultural machines, sheds, buckets and other odd places). The next day there were busy again but the day after I didn't see them.  Or the next day. 

So I went to investigate and was very sad to see 3 little bodies, all limp. I think that it was probably too hot for them in there as the nest was in the front lefthand corner, completely under the plastic which would have been far too hot for them. I removed the nest and placed it in a shady area under the big oak tree.

I've seen the robins flying in and out of the hedge with building material in their beaks so hopefully they'll have more success with their next brood.

The nest of doom

Rosettes for the horses

I'd brought back two beautiful ARUK rosettes from Badminton Horse Trials with the idea of taking a photo of the two ladies wearing them.


As I'd brought them round to the barn I decided to try it after the farrier had been. Esther was feeling very mellow and it didn't take much persuading to let me attach it to her headcollar.

I'm too sleepy to care what you're up to!
You can just see Kizzy's hooves behind Esther and if you could see her body language she was saying 'no way am I having one of those near me!' But I tried to show it to her from a distance which resulted in much snorting.  

I went a step closer and she lunged backwards, breaking free from the barn, thus illustrating why you should always tie their lead rein to a bit of baler twine rather than directly onto the ring! You can just see her ring and the orange baler twine behind Esther's head. If her lead had been tied directly onto the ring it would have remained rigid and she'd have panicked even more and possibly hurt herself but as soon as she broke free she stood still again.

From my last run

Here are a few new friends I met on my run the other day.

Young mares
A gorgeous Burmese cat
A peacock with a rather bedraggled tail

Last but not least

Here's a our lovely Tinker who was so poorly for several weeks after his operation. He's fully recovered now, thankfully, and has started to go outside again but only for short spells at a time. He seems to have lost his confidence and we suspect that his hearing isn't as good now he's getting older.

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