animals

Bunnies

I noticed this little bunny (Oryctolagus cuniculus) hopping around my lawn the other day and took a sneaky picture. A few days later I was sitting in the garden looking at things and thinking, and thinking and looking, when two rabbits appeared! Probably a buck and his doe, or the other way round if you are not being sexist, but I am not sure which is which.

They seemed quite happy to coexist with the pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) who also like to roam my lawn in the velvet cool of evening: a cock and his little harem of three hens (much of Nature seems to be regrettably pre-feminist) who like nothing better than to gobble up my freshly-sown grass seed and sometimes steal food off the bird table. The rabbits, while incredibly nervous of any sound or motion, seem entirely oblivious of the pheasants pecking around them, and vice versa.

Interestingly though, when a raptor of some kind flew over, and the cock gave his wild alarm shriek, the rabbits also scattered for cover. Evidently they don’t mind pheasants, but they are smart enough to use them as an alarm system.

It is a fine thing to lounge in the garden and watch so many different species of animals eating all my stuff. Well, there’s plenty to go around.

Animals

A cheeky robin. It is not the one that lives at Henrietta’s Pond, whom I call Reginald, but a little way further along the brook. I do not know how big a robin’s territory is so it might be Reginald’s next door neighbour. I will call him Richard.

This is Henrietta the Pekin duck who is the undisputed boss of the pond. You can see her cruising majestically around with various of her subjects tagging along in her wake, and she often hangs about (as here) with Martin, the mallard drake. I do not know what his wife Martina thinks about it, but she is probably too scared to take on Henrietta, who is quite aggressive and once tried to eat my shoes.

Generally if a squirrel realises it’s been spotted it will freeze quite still and hope that you don’t notice it. This one is doing a semi-convincing impersonation of a twig.

One of the pair of Canada geese who have just returned from winter holidays. They are big, big birds, you have to get up close to them to realise. I was trying to take some photos of the coots and moorhens, and the geese kept coming up and menacing me for food. Everyone has heard the saying that a swan could break your arm; I think one of these could give you a nasty Chinese burn if it had a mind to.

Blue tits are very pretty, and it is great to see them flitting and fluttering from branch to branch in the golden spring sunshine. Their song seems curiously inappropriate though, as it sounds like Butt-Head laughing.