Now Remus and Gracie are not averse to chasing the odd squirrel or three in the garden, but they are not the only wildlife to be seen in our garden! I’ll not mention birds in today’s diary entry as they are too many and plentiful throughout the year, though I will mention the occasional pairs of geese that fly over this time of year. I’ve only seen mated pairs so far, no squadrons like you see in the autumn when they choose to fly south for sunnier climates. Rabbits have reappeared this year. Some years they are abundant, others non existent. Must be thanks to the Red Kites that hunt in the area or disease maybe. Mind you those Kites scarpered away with the neighbours tortoise last year. Deer are another mammal that occasionally wander through the gardens and woodland any time of the year, though they are very coy and rather shy. I saw a family of five deer munching away at a neighbours hedge two years back. This is the time of year that I see the first of the local snake population come out of hibernation. There is a nest of these slithery reptiles within the limestone drywall on our terrace, not five metres from the back door and there are not just one or two, but maybe twenty grass snakes of various ages and sizes, all hibernating throughout the winter months. The dogs go crazy sniffing around the two large cracks in the wall where they come and go, but they finally vanish for the summer to hunt in the grounds and woods nearby. One neighbour actually had a wild flower meadow in order to study these rather secretive reptiles. A snake that resembled an adder (though I am not completely sure) did hiss at me whilst I was enjoying a cup of coffee last year. There are also a couple of species of rodents that nest nearby. Perfect food for our local predators I guess. I’ve seen plenty of frogs around, even a toad in the garden. There is a stream that winds its way through the woods. So that explains that I guess.
The odd, friendly pheasant can be seen in close proximity. Though on the insect side of things, they are finally back. Food for the birds and good pollinators. Six weeks ago, the midges, five weeks the bumblebees, four weeks back the first of the fly species and the first butterfly I saw two weeks back. Ladybirds aplenty all year really as they nest within the metal window frames of the upstairs bay window. They are a real pest springtime and autumn when they seem to amass. There are also the most magnificent dragon flies that seem to come and go in groups every summer, not spied them yet, still a bit early I think. And finally I must add that I have not seen a fox as yet in ‘The Shires’. This sly predator is prolific in London where we used to live, beside the railway line. Well, there you go! The wonders of living the country life, here in The Shires of leafy England.