Sunday, 25 May 2014

Oh, deer

It's déjà vu all over again. Yesterday I spotted Myrtle the moorhen having a spot of nookie with a gentleman friend. She then drove him away. For the first time since her male went missing her "flags" were showing under her tail, and they continue to show as she puk-puk-puks up and down the millstream once more. She still isn't achieving much but all the signs are she's feeling happier, despite the destruction of her nest.

The tawny owls are repeating their courtship behaviour from the end of February: excited "yik-yik-yik-yik" calling by the female in the hangar on Wednesday night, with a softly hooted response from the male and a gruff intervention by another female, then the "huia" call from her and trilling from him on Thursday, which we recorded. The timescale seems somewhat telescoped, but this time the pair are not strangers to one another, not to mention that there is not much of the breeding season left. The trail camera has arrived, and we are going to see what we can see tonight.

Tawny owls do not have two broods in a year unless they lose the first one. The timing is just about right for a second brood, and going on Baron's hunting success there is an excellent supply of voles. Another possibility is that work at Moulin de Chevarnay may have destroyed the nest. The huge evergreen hedge (too fine for leylandii, I think they are thuyas} has been cut down from about five metres to one metre a couple of weeks ago. All the machinery for digging a fosse septique was there plus lorries taking away the spoil. The noise and people will have disrupted quite a few nesting birds. At least our view is enhanced by the distant roofs and weeping willow that we couldn't see before.

We have one newcomer to report - a roe buck Chevreuil européen (Capreolus capreolus). Tim spotted him yesterday lying in one of the mowed areas of the meadow. Today we both saw him under the nearest of the big old willows, or rather under a network of new growth projecting from an old fallen branch that remained connected to the tree. His antlers still have velvet on them, and he's scraped some of it off since yesterday. He's obviously found this to be an ideal spot to rest, scrape his antlers, feed and shelter from the rain.


More than just a pronghorn

Just as long as you stay out of the vegetable garden, matey. And the orchard. You don't know how good you taste.


Pollygarter said...

The moorhens were at it again just now. Myrtle is a changed bird.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Typical Woman that Myrtle!! Col