October 2009

There is just so much going on around us all the time! This month the returning ducks, waders and gulls have repopulated the creek and coast – much to the apparent disgust of the now resident egrets but not so the long legged herons that stalk magisterially up and down, never deigning to so much as glance at these “Johnny-come-latelies!” We have repeatedly enjoyed watching a couple of young cormorants fishing just off the rocks with no real concern that we are maybe only 20 feet away.

Ravens have been soaring high over the creek margins, their fan shaped tails and broadly spaced pinions so diagnostic, and then that deep chuckling “Prruuuk!” floats down to us lesser, earth-bound mortals. Buzzards soaring high is another magnificent sight and sound, but over the last few weeks we have been besieged by an immature buzzard in the trees over the road that clearly thinks it’s parents could be doing more by way of a fast food service. Eventually it struggles off its perch and away in search of it’s own food, but give it an hour and back it comes! Oh well, it really is a small price to pay for the privilege of being able to cohabit with them.

I was really pleased to come across a small toad on our allotment the other day; as we are plagued with slugs and caterpillars, I encouraged it to take up permanent residence, but whether it was looking for affordable housing with free food thrown in remains to be seen. Everything comes down to food doesn’t it? The hedgerows have been laden with blackberries and sloes (our kitchen windowsill sports a Kilner Jar full of sloes and gin that is slowly turning red and headily aromatic– no, I’m not telling you where we live – make your own!) But I think it is not just us enjoying the season’s bounty – we have seen plenty of evidence (it gets a bit scatological here, you may want to look away) of fruity-poohs from foxes and badgers getting their autumnal sugar fix.

I have heard stories of both getting drunk on late summer fruit as it slowly ferments in the late season sunshine. The main road through the Roseland resembled a charnel house the other morning; rabbits, a rat, a badger and even (sadly) a cat had all been knocked over on just the one night: I don’t drive slowly, but I can still manage to avoid the wildlife and I started to ask myself how many people take avoiding action – or “the opposite”? Badgers are moving back to their winter sets at this time of year, using routes they have used for decades. I know there is huge controversy regarding badgers and TB, but for now, most people think the jury is still out so we should be giving them the benefit of the doubt. My wife saw a badger last week on the way back from yoga (yes, now you have this weird picture in your mind of a badger wearing a headband, legwarmers and a fluorescent Lycra leotard, but it was my wife NOT the badger that had been out saluting the sun or whatever!) It moved along the roadside steadily and wasn’t panicked by the car’s approach, so she was able to go around it easily enough

Finally, a huge thank you to whoever has been cleaning up the walkways styles and undergrowth across the National Trust land between St Just and St Mawes – it is so much better than it was. Thank you!

PS. I have been asked to point out that no member of this household would be seen dead in headband, legwarmers and a fluorescent Lycra leotard. Please blame artistic license.

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