The ‘Wildlife’ category:

Snakes in the Compost

June 5th, 2013

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We have three compost boxes, one for each year we’ve been here. Box 1 is ready to use and we’ve been marvelling at how compost-like all the stuff we’ve been dumping in there has become.

Neither of us, however, remembers chucking snakes into the compost, so when Corrie discovered loads of snake eggs whilst preparing the tomato beds with some compost from box 1 it was quite a surprise. Although I do remember seeing a big snake slithering away from the pile of potato peelings and tea bags I chucked in there one evening.

Pretty cool I reckon!

Migrating cranes

February 25th, 2012

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At this time of year we play host to the first load of cranes migrating north; they stop over for the night in the fields and ponds around us.

For now there aren’t too many – just a few hundred or so probably – but as they get going there will be thousands. And rather than stop over they’ll just keep on flying, in huge long trailing Vs.

It’s quite a sight but they’re noisy.

It’s a bat, man

September 14th, 2011

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There are a couple of bats living in my workshop. I think they actually live in the loft above but come down to hang out in my workshop most evenings.

When I go in they don’t seem to mind me, although they make funny twitching movements and squeak a lot – I assume they’re trying to tell me something. I shout at them like a Brit abroad, “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? I NO SPEAKO THE SQUEAKO”, but I think they might be a bit retarded so it’s probably not worth making the effort.

After a minute or two they fly off upstairs and my little wildlife encounter comes to an end.

I think they’re lesser horseshoe bats but I’m not an expert so if you know better I’d happily be corrected. Contrary to my recent Facebook updates I haven’t been trying to kill them, although I could do with a way of discouraging them from shitting over every single of my work surfaces.



Some nice wildlife (for a change)

June 21st, 2011

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We went for a little walk through the woods this morning and didn’t spot anything scary. On the contrary, we saw four beautiful golden orioles which were unfortunately too far away for me to photograph. Their bright gold feathers make for quite a flash as they dart into the trees.

We also saw: a hare sneak off into a field of wheat; a red beetle thing; a beautiful butterfly (anyone know what it is?); and a hummingbird hawk moth. I was attacked by a stag beetle too and I actually have marks on my finger where it grabbed me, but that was more exciting and weird than scary.

Here’s a selection of the nice wildlife we saw today (that I did manage to snap)….

Oh it’s a snake, a frickin snake!

May 2nd, 2011

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We were having a cup of tea, chatting about what kind of cake Corrie should make, when…

“Quick!” Corrie leapt up and was pointing out of the window.
“What!?” I thought she’d seen some new and exciting wildlife and I was keen to spot it too.
“It’s a massive snake!”

That is definitely not the sort of wildlife I was expecting!

I grabbed the camera and followed it as it zoomed away through the shrubs, along the fence and down to the barn. It got itself cornered (that’s the picture above) and tried to climb up the barn, hissing loudly the whole time.

It raised itself up like a cobra and hissed at me (I was several metres away), then slithered off into a hole under the barn I was going to start clearing out after my cup of tea.

We’re both still freaked out by this encounter. The snake isn’t venomous – it’s a Western whip snake –¬†but whatever: it’s fucking fast; it hisses; and it rises up like a cobra!!!

I’ve changed my mind about clearing out the barn, or working outside at all, and will be ironing my socks for the rest of the summer.

The garden in the night

May 1st, 2011

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This mystery bird has been singing away every night, giving the place a rather tropical atmosphere. You’d have thought with such a distinctive sound we’d have identified it, but we haven’t been able to. Any ideas?

PS The video above was taken at night so there’s nothing to see… but lots to hear!

Slimy wildlife

April 25th, 2011

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Whilst heading down to shut the chickens up for the night I spotted a frog in the beam of my torch. Stepping to one side to avoid squashing it I noticed another frog… and a big toad. And then I spotted two beautiful red and lime-green salamanders slowly crawling along the base of the wall. One of the little frogs, in getting away from me, ended up sitting on a salamander’s tail. It didn’t seem to bother either of them.

I’ve looked all over the internet to identify these creatures and it would seem that I’ve discovered a new ‘make’. As their discoverer I shall name them Laser Ninja Salamanders.

Unless you know what they are of course.