The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Nature Watch at Todheugh 2

Fauna

We have some extra pets in the house, presumably due to the extended cold weather. Last week I was a little disconcerted to see a large mouse run across the bathroom floor and disappear under the bath. Paul has started setting the traps again. He caught two that night and two the next. He was not impressed that I would not identify the one from under the bath. None have been caught over the last couple of days...

I am now getting quite blase about hares and deer.

I heard on the radio last week that there are record numbers of hares and I am not surprised. We see them almost every other day at the moment.

Deer are not quite so commonplace to see, but it is no longer a rarity. Last week there were two right by the fence in Margaret's (Poncho's) field. They did not seem too concerned at me and Jen standing watching them - after about 20 seconds they ran off towards the copse. Their numbers have increased significantly around here to the point where they are a nuisance to the farms and they have started to be culled. We have benefited with some venison in our freezer...

Today was a first for me. I was walking back with Jen across the bridge when movement caught my eye. I stopped and looked. I was really excited to see three otters. I watched them for a couple of minutes, swimming around, climbing out onto the bank, back into the river... They were a real joy to watch.

I then hurried to get Paul, binoculars and camera. They had moved further up the river - too far away to photograph them. Paul went to get Ann, but by the time they got back the otters were out of sight. We had heard rumours of otters around here, but until you see for yourself you are not convinced.

Flora

The snowdrops are just going over up here now, although there are still some patches in the shadier places doing well. I need a good day to transplant some from my 'stock' area to the next section of the long bank.

There are lots of narcissi in all the verges around here, and the first few started flowering last week. It will be another couple of weeks at least before we get the full impact. The miniature ones in my garden have been flowering for quite a while now. The ones I planted in the grass verge at the end of the drive two years ago have bulked up well.

Primroses in the more sheltered verges are flowering.

The leaves of wild garlic have sprung up all around us, but it will be a while before its pungent smell fills the air.

The heart-shaped leaves of celandines can be seen everywhere, but no flowers yet.

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