Wednesday, 17 September 2014


East Enders and Emerdale are no match for the dramas around Woodlouse House. A couple of weeks ago a young Sparrowhawk sat in the field for a few hours waiting for a parent bird to return.  It was too far away to get any good photos but it was great to watch it, especially when two Buzzards flew by and gave it a bit of a fright.

Yesterday we returned from a trip to Thirsk (lovely place ... highly recommend it!) and found a pile of feathers at the back of the garden.  A plucked sparrow. Had the Sparrowhawk paid us a visit? 

Today I opened the door for the cat and discovered a very shocked Collared Dove on the lawn.  It was barely breathing but we put it in a safe quiet place to recover or die .... unfortunately it was the latter .... Again there were feathers around it.  It could have been a cat (NOT mine as she was definitely inside).

Anyway, I was busy in the kitchen about half an hour ago when the villain returned. With a swift body blow and a claw to the throat a second Collared Dove was dispatched. I now have a second pile of feathers on the lawn.  In a way this is good news for the garden.  We are feeding the birds regularly and encouraging wildlife to visit.  Bird numbers in the garden have steadily increased and the feeders are in constant use.  The Sparrowhawk is just another bird using the feeders!

Buzzard numbers have also increased recently.  We counted over 20 birds soaring above us a few days ago; a flock of eleven all at once was a sight to see.  A Red Kite was another visitor over the field and it was wonderful to see a Weasel running along the hedgerow.  I am quite concerned for the young Partridges and Pheasants though.
The allotment has served us well.  We have far too many potatoes and onions and the freezer can't take any more peas and beans.  This year I have grown lots of flowers as well as veg.  It has been wonderful to fill vases without emptying the borders ... and I have lots of seeds collected for next year! 

While the Sparrowhawk was putting me off my tea I was making the most delicious ketchup ever!  I know it is wonderful because I made it fit my ideal of ketchup.  I wanted it to be sweet so I used soft brown sugar and included eating apples; not too much vinegar and just a touch of ginger.  My Tomato Chutney is tasting okay too!    

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