Tag Archives: nature

Carnage at the Castle

When I decided to lengthen and widen the entrance to my Fantic’s bike-port (or lean-to, as it’s probably described more accurately)…

…it became necessary to re-locate the hedge-hog house…

…as mentioned in these earlier blogs 1 and 2. I was concerned that the occupants might have been disturbed by the ‘building’s’ uprooting, so set up a camera to check out the scene, so to speak. I needn’t have been worried; life clearly carried on as normal…

Hey, doesn’t this next mouse look rather like the Plastic Annihilator?

Whatever, once the task was complete (and having surveyed the rest of the garden) I found myself surplus one box-like flower pot that had been split open by repeated winter freezing. So I up-ended it and created a mouse ‘castle’…

Well a ‘ruin’ anyway. Naturally I tossed a few seeds, fat pellets, and what-have-you inside it; set up a camera; and awaited developments. Due, probably to a sudden downpour, the first to arrive were some small black slugs…

But before long the Plastic Annihilator and his buddy – we’ll call it Brian – joined the feast…

PA and Brian remained for some while, before being supplanted by a late-coming  vole of some kind…

Vole didn’t stay long, because minutes later an unexpected caller…er… called…

Yeah…I do have an incumbent hedgehog afterall. Hoorah!

Oh, but what of the small black slugs?

Gobbled up and polished off, that’s what. Carnage at the Castle!

The Plastic Annihilator!

For many years, before I assumed the role, my wife would keep the feed for the wild birds in our garden in a transparent plastic bucket with matching lid and a similar breakfast cereal container. These proved sufficient to keep the contents inside safe from the rodents that would have liked to eat them…until a few days ago when I found this on the shed floor…

Judging by the condition of the bucket lid, a very smart rodent had discovered a way of breaching my defences…

It simply sat on the inner surface of the lid and chewed around the edge until the plastic sagged enough for it to gain purchase on the lid itself and make a hole through which it could enter Alladdin’s Cave. The following day I replaced the lid with a spare. It didn’t survive the night. Transfering the contents of the bucket into the cereal container, I felt confident that no further losses would be incurred. I was wrong. Oh dear…

Clearly I was up against something considerably more imposing than a mere mouse. More like a Meerkat. So, after replacing the ruined container with a wooden wine box, I set up a camera to capture images of the invincible perpetrator. What could it be? It’s jaws must be incredibly powerful. A super-rat perhaps? Then the images came in…

Just a diddy little house mouse. Nothing special at all. Or is it? I call my four-legged un-buddy Andromeda Strain. If you’ve ever seen the movie of the same name, you’ll know why. The Andromeda Strain was a micro-organism that destroyed plastic and threatened the entire world. However, in real life, the wooden box defeated it entirely.  Those ravaging gnashers barely scratched the surface. Who’d have thought? We’ll see what tonight brings though: I’m expecting carnage.

Nature Wallpaper: Cruel Thorns; Hard Frost

Myriad Sparrows live within this hedgerow. How do they survive the barbs? Or is it a case of the thorns offering the tiny birds protection from predators? They certainly squawk a lot. But I guess I would too – if I had those things jabbing me up the arse every five minutes!

P.S Don’t you think those three bramble leaves look rather predatory?

Nature Wallpaper: Remnant of Summer

The drought of 2022 in the UK effected the natural world in several ways – all of them negatively. But when a cold snap followed it’s watery ending, and subsequent seasonal temperatures soared shortly afterwards, the natural world was thrown out of kilter. For some plants, it appeared that summer had returned. For others the period called winter was skipped, and they went straight to Spring again. All very colourful for those who took the time to look. Who knows what will become of the Primroses etc when winter finally arrives – not to mention dumb-ass hedgehogs. It probably won’t go well for them. Here ‘s a shot of high-summer Clover in Autumn, which was lovely to see amongst all the dry brown hedgerow foliage and fresh green shoots emerging from the desiccated grasses at the field’s edge…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Has ‘Helping the Hedgehog’ Helped?

Well if the following picture is to be believed, someone has clearly moved into the Hedgehog Over-Wintering House at the bottom of my garden. Look, they’ve planted a nice flower outside the porch…

But since no one responded to a polite knock, I thought it best to spy on them – by installing a night-vision camera, I’m sorry to say, t’was not a spiky critter that emerged into the darkness; but one of these…

Oh, well, at least the property isn’t laying vacant. Some smart little rodent has spotted the potential. There, I told you hedgehogs were dumb-asses!

 

Nature Wallpaper: Weeks Into the Drought

The fields near where I live suffered during the Summer of 2022. They also made a pleasant, if slightly abnormal wallpaper…

Here’s how it might appear on your computer…

And just to show you the lengths I’m willing to go to in order to serve up these wonders of nature – regard what a loop of vicious bramble did to me as I went about my country business, snapping nice pictures to share with all…

My ankle was like that all the way around. I hate bastard brambles!

Nature Wallpaper: Sharing

Before I share my ‘Sharing’ wallpaper with you, please allow me to share the following image with you…

I suffer for my art, you know. Despite the fields and paths of rural England appearing benificent, don’t be fooled. For all the waving grasses and spirited swathes of clover, there are always brambles laying in wait amongst them for unwary picture-snappers like me. Bastards.

So, anyway, on to the subject of this post. I put this picture up on my Flickr page. In the first 36 hours it received about a hundred hits and a couple of ‘faves’.  Then, whilst I slept blissfuly, trying to ignore my itching shins, the picture went ape-shit. By the time I posted this version of the picture here, the original had already gained over 3700 hits and a hundred ‘faves’. Someone likes it. I hope you do. It is quite nice…

 

Wallpaper 639: The Breakfast Sentinel

Every morning, before breakfast, I shuffle to my garden shed to feed the wild birds in my garden. The first to arrive is Jacques, the Robin, who flutters in front of me like an inebriated humming bird, demanding access to perch upon my hand and pick through the tit-bits I have for him. Then, as I emerge fully, and begin to place the food upon the various feeders in my quince tree, the resident crow  starts calling to the other birds  from my roof – announcing that breakfast is served… 

Why it has taken on this role, I have no idea: but the pigeons and jackdaws seem particularly pleased that it has.

 

Tooty Gets His Nuts Out

There are two Robins that vie for supremacy in my garden. A rather neat and spic and span fellow (Loser) and a somewhat bedraggled example (Winner). Every morning, when I go out into the garden to refill the bird feeder (my late wife did it religiously, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint her), Winner arrives immediately; gets in my way; and generally demands breakfast, which I’m always glad to supply. But he does have to work for it. Here he is, waiting on the bird table…

Having set up the camera to capture the moment, today I went into the shed to fetch some nuts for him. Winner – the  undoubted ‘top dog’ Robin in the local area – became impatient, and immediately hopped aboard the handy perch…

…and proceeded to watch my every move. Flitting over to the fence…

…he awaited my outstretched hand, which he knew was full of nuts. And, as usual, he flitted back; checked me out…

…hovered for a moment; snatched a nut; then scooted for the sanctuary of the tree…

This is his modus operandi. He touches down for a nanosecond, then puts as much distance between himself and I as he can – usually disappearing into an adjoining garden to devour his catch. He’ll do it as many times as I’m prepared to stand there, like a lemon, with an aching arm stretched out in front of me…

But I know that when he’s off over the fence, Loser grabs his opportunity with both feet. There he is, look – watching over my shoulder…

This is when he slips in unnoticed. More often than not he may get chased off by Winner, but when I feel his little talons grip my fingernails…

…for me he’s the real winner. After all he gets the time to select the best nut in my hand. And if he’s feeling choosey, he might even take a meal worm. Yum!