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Happy gardening!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Wildlife in our Brittany Garden...

A cold and frosty start here today but a day full of exciting wildlife sitings ... all within our garden or within a 10 minute walk of the boundaries!

For anyone new to my blog, we live in northern Brittany - about a mile from our local village and about 20 minutes to the nearest large town - we're lucky enough to live down a small no-through lane with only 2 houses on the lane that are inhabited as well as one small holiday home and another house which has been up for sale since early last year. We are surrounded on one side by woodland and on all other sides by farmland.

When we found our house some 8 years ago now, there had been nobody living there we think, for at least 7 years and certainly no one tending the "garden and woodland" for considerably longer! Of course it was a total wilderness at that time but the thing I have come to appreciate more and more as the years go past here is the fact that being left to its own devices the garden had built up its own eco-system which means on the whole aside of a small amount of weedkiller on our gravel at the front, I literally use NO pesticides/insecticides or chemical based fertilizers and I'm sure this is one of the secrets to having such a wonderful variety of wildlife in our garden and woodland - it really is a joy!

Anyway... getting back to today... most mornings I'm out with Lucy for her morning stroll and as it doesn't' get light much before 8.30am... I usually head out about 10ish and go across the fields... well today I was blessed with the wonderful sight of some young deer grazing in one of the smaller fields which is just left to rough meadow - it's not cultivated at all! I tried not to disturb them, but they did hear me of course and skipped off over the stream and to the woodland beyond... wonderful to see them in full flight across the fields.












I then turned along the stream and not far from home spotted one of the wild Coypu that frequent the streams and rivers around here - if you look carefully at the photo - behind the bramble in the foreground you can see the main part of the body and then you can make out the head and it's nose and whiskers! They are hunted by the local Chasse as they do quite a lot of damage to crops but at this time of year do a great job in keeping the vegetation along the river banks nice and low!

After the frost, the ice on the trees started to melt and thought the early catkins on the Hazels made a nice shot - Spring is very slowly emerging here... lots of new shoots coming along in the garden too - how exciting!










Back to our garden and all the birds were very busy feeding today being colder than it has been for the last few days - then I noticed a Blue Tit sizing up the hole on the nest box on the Cherry Tree - interesting as we normally have Great Tits in there! And so I left the cold for a seat behind my computer with the garden always in my sight as I worked...

Whilst working, I caught sight of our lovely Great Spotted Woodpecker on the Coconut - the birds here really love these but you don't hear of many people putting these out - is there a reason why not? These photos aren't the best as they were taken through the office window (I think they need a clean!)


Then later on this afternoon, I noticed flocks of birds flying over the garden and some landed in the Walnut Tree which is visible from my window... Fieldfares in their masses! By then it was starting to get darker and of course trying to get a good shot of these birds was near impossible but I did my best!
Hope you have a good rest of the week... keep warm - Miranda

8 comments:

easygardener said...

Lovely to see so much wildlife around your house. I tried hanging out coconut and the birds loved it - unfortunately so did the squirrels and the contents disappeared in under an hour. There are some kinds of wildlife I could do without :-)

Cheryl said...

Hi Miranda....I could not agree more....no sprays no chemicals etc bring a wonderful balance to a garden. It opens the eyes to the wonderful insects and creatures that live alongside us.

The deer are wonderful.....I have seen deer running across fields whilst travelling....it always leaves me so moved. They are such beautiful animals.....

You live in a wonderful place...enjoy each and every moment......

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Easy gardener - many thanks for popping over... Sorry to hear of your squirrel antics - I know my parents who have squirrels have all sorts of problems but they are endearing to watch - we literally have no squirels here which I'm quite sad about as with so many acorns they'd do well! Enjoy your week - Miranda x

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Cheryl... don't worry I really do enjoy every minute of being here - well nearly all and I realise how lucky I am... I remember all too well when I first lived in Bristol in a top floor flat how I craved even that small amount of outdoor space... in those days I had about 3 window boxes full of herbs and butterflies! Then I moved to my first house still with a pretty small garden but I started there with nothing and by the time I sold after 3 years I don't think I could have fitted another plant in that garden!! Then coming here we had more space than I'd dreamt of! Living in France is lovely in the main but there are things I really miss like a nice coffee shop which does yummy cakes!:-) Have a good week Miranda x

Chris said...

Really interesting to see your wildlife, Miranda, and so much of it :-) Hope you are keeping warm, it cold and wet here again today!

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks Chris - I must admit I love being able to walk out of the back door and have all this in the doorstep so to speak - you must be the same where you are too?

If it's any consolation - it's pouring with rain today - so I shall plough on with all the typing I have to do for a client... a slight change from my gardening - but great for this time of year when everything is so soggy and wet. Hope you're keeping well - take care Miranda x

kate smudges said...

Your photographs of the Hazel catkins are lovely. What a treat they must be. You live in a beautiful country. I am glad for being able to visit online!

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Kate - really great to see have you visit again - it was funny today on my morning walk with Lucy our black labrador I noticed that the Hazel catkins have come on quite a bit just in the short time since I took these pics... we do live in a beautiful country but then again - so do you! I spent 3 months just south of Toronto a number of years ago and it was wonderful to take hikes in deep snow following the trails of porcupine amongst other things! Take care - Miranda x