Thursday, 15 September 2011


We have a surprising amount of wildlife on the doorstep.  This isn't that surprising as although we live in a town, it is a town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and looking out of any upstairs window gives a view of sheep.  What is slightly more surprising is how much wildlife we have in both house and garden.  Some is welcome, of course.  Some is not.  Some is just odd.

Almost anything is welcome to live in the garden - although I'd make an exception of slugs.  We have pigeons in large quantities, several robins, a visiting jay or two, quite a few bluetits, three readily identifiable butterfly types, burrowing honeybees, a wasp nest, a recently arrived hedgehog, a pair of annual pheasants, a bat or two, mice in large numbers and occasionally visits from next door's escape artist rabbit.

Inside we have quite a lot of the same.  Mice - it's an very large, very old house with stone walls - we are going to have mice.  Our resident 16 year old cat counts the day lost when she doesn't diminish the population, so I'm not very fussed about them.  Slugs - I have no idea where they're coming from, but they are massive and rather beautiful in their own way.  Unlike the very dull garden slugs, these chaps are tiger-striped and rather stately.  They emerge in the kitchen from time to time, show their presence with a trail of slime and vanish again.

A recent (and very unwelcome) interior addition was a succession of dead and dying wasps.  For about a week we were waking each morning to find the floor encrusted with these critters and called in pest control.  As it turned out, they were not our wasps.  They belonged to a nest on the roof of the house next door, but obviously found our home more agreeable as a graveyard.  Not sure whether to be flattered by that or not.  It's a unique selling point of a kind - "Hey - wasps love our house so much they come and die here!".  The Council man came and donned more protective gear than you'd think likely before wiping out the nest.  Wasps no more.

Pigeons also seem to like our house.  Now admittedly, they are not the brightest birds ever, but they somehow manage to bypass the bird covers over the chimneys.  Luckily for them, the chimneys are wide and the fires currently not lit, so they can be rescued and returned to the great outdoors.  And having said they're not too bright, they seem to be nesting in our cellar.  In the process of tidying up the hall leading to the garden I opened the door yesterday and came face to face with two fat, smug pigeon fledglings.  We're generous and hospitable people, but they're going to have to go.  They're teenagers.  We already have one and that's quite enough thank you.

A brief update:  The teenage pigeons seem to be using the cellar as a general hang out rather than a nesting site.  "Look, cool place to kick back and get away from the parents."

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