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From farm to feeder

Spring surprises

Its spring! For me, early morning is always a magical moment, especially when the sunlight shafts through the trees on the hill behind our farmhouse. I never know what we are going to see when opening the curtains. Sometimes a fox trotting past with a purposeful look in its eye. Or perhaps a wary roe deer on the lawn. Not surprising really as our 'garden' is more an extension of the surrounding meadows. Recently we have seen a female deer nervously checking her surroundings, while her two half grown twins chase each other back and forth, with the carefree exuberance of youth.  Rabbits are everywhere this year. And they decide what we grow in the garden - anything they cannot eat!

Looking  out of a first floor window into our courtyard at first light, I was surprised by a nose diving wood pigeon. Hot on its tail was a sparrowhawk. As they flashed out of sight I dashed to get my camera. Carefully looking out of another window I could see the brown back of a large female hawk on the ground, head down, wings spread, mantling her breakfast.

Inevitably if you attract wildlife to the garden with food, then predators come too. Although having a bush close to the birdtable makes life a little safer for the smaller birds queuing to get a meal. So imagine my surprise one evening seeing a barn owl land on the fence near our feeder. It had learnt that spilt bird food sometimes attracts wood mice and voles. Clever owl!

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