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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Red squirrels, ducks and a mystery chilli

It's so rare that I get an opportunity to photograph a red squirrel. I see them often but they are very wary here and bound off at first sight of a human. They live here in our garden and there is, we think, a drey up in a Spruce tree near the pond.

So just as I was walking past that tree about a week ago, I heard a familiar sound coming from a nearby tree and looked up. Luckily I had my camera in my hand! I think the squirrel was scolding me for going too close to its drey.

Pics are a bit grainy as I still wasn't close enough and I've had to crop an already zoomed in photo.

Just to change the subject I forgot on my last but one post about lazy summer days to post a photo of Doris duck learning how to do the bottom's up pose.....

They are so funny when they do this. They also swim under water, quite a way sometimes then come up and splash about wildly. Sometimes they do this after mating, when they're feeling a bit frisky! They do always have a jolly good bathe after sex it must be said!

Had a bit of a shock recently as one night the naughty ducks refused to come into their shed and the next morning Rachel the Rouen was missing. I searched high and low, fearing the worst, looking for signs of entry by a fox. Nothing. No sign of her, no feathers, no holes in the perimeter fence - it was a mystery. Then my OH went to look again and found her straight away. Oh yes, she'd gone broody and was sitting in a nest under a load of brambles by the pond - on six eggs and a pine cone. This corresponded with the fact she'd stopped laying 7 days beforehand.

We were then faced with the dilemma of what to do - not really wanting and certainly not needing more ducks, not happy about her staying out on the nest at night, but also rather drawn towards having some cute ducklings about the place. In the end we decided we would let nature take its course, thinking that not all eggs would be likely to hatch, and that predators would likely take some of the ducklings anyway.

We shouldn't have worried as she came off the nest in the evening and happily let herself be herded into the shed. The next day she was back on the nest in the morning, then came off it once in the afternoon and again later on and went happily into the shed for the night. By this time we knew it was unlikely those eggs were ever going to come to anything as they need to be kept warm all the time. She turned out to be total rubbish at being broody as by the next day she'd forgotten all about it and now they're being eaten by the magpies and crows, so that kind of solved that problem!

And just so you don't think I spend all my time photographing wildlife, and watching the antics of ducks, I do actually do some work in my veg patch occasionally...... and I'm wondering just what the hell kind of Jalapeno pepper this is supposed to be (Jalapenos are a short fat stuffable kind of chilli)! I'm sure I didn't get my labels mixed up, and even if I did, this is most certainly not a Piment d'Espelette either!! Maybe a seed of a different variety got into one of the packets? Time will tell I guess - not that I'll know what variety it is, but neither Jalapeno nor Piment d'Espelette are hot at all so a taste test could be interesting!

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