Garden lowlife

by Richard Jones

The only wildlife I've seen this week has been the rather dead-life brought in by the cats - three and a half mice and a rat not much smaller than our guinea pig.

Dead ratThe only wildlife I've seen this week has been the rather dead-life brought in by the cats - three and a half mice and a rat not much smaller than our guinea pig. I'm more or less calm that we have mice in the compost bins, but I'm uneasy about the increasing number of rats; that's four in a month now. I guess I'll just have to accept that we live in a city, so they'll be everywhere.

Last week a fox was regularly walking through the garden between 6 and 6.30am. I used to wonder why I would see them 'doing the rounds' only at certain times of the year. Almost certainly they have distinct seasonal patterns, but, of course, it's also because they make their patrols each day according to sun-up and -down, and this only coincides with my alarm clock on a few days each year. No sign this week.

Richard Jones sporting a red mohicanDespite the apparent warm weekend weather, there is a distinctly autumnal feel in the air. Apart from a few hoverflies sunning themselves on the ivy, there is precious little wildlife out. I wonder if it has anything to do with the hoards of screaming 11-year-olds having a 'punk and goth' party, and a sleep-over in a tent in the garden. Even the parakeets have abandoned us. I suppose it didn't help that I was sporting a bright red Mohican.

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Gardeners' World Web User 02/10/2008 at 00:06

We are facing really big problems with Raccoons and Skunks in our garden. Not to forget about the rattle snakes. Our 4 cats are very active but.... tuff chance against these trouble makers. Guess you wonder where in England Raccoons, Skunks and Rattle snakes causing this kind of autumnal garden entertainment? No worries! We are living in California.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/10/2008 at 18:36

I hang a bird feeder and a small fat ball in my 'standard shaped' eucalyptus tree (the pruned stumps make idea bird perches.) This is situated just outside my bungalow bedroom window (in the north east of England.) It attracts mainly blue tits, great tits and coal tits. They seem to love the black and beige sort of sunflower seeds. I tried the nigeria black seed, to see if the gold finches would come - but no luck at all - in fact, these seeds started to sprout,as none of the birdlife took any interest!

Flurries of house sparrows also visit regularly, squabbling, pecking and jumping on each other each other for posession of the fat ball. Earlier in the year there were lots of blackbirds and mistle thrushs - but I haven't seen them for about a month or two now.

Occasionally, I see a cat prowling down the nearby path, but with plenty of ivy and shrub cover nearby its been out of luck, thank goodness.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/10/2008 at 19:11

We still have lots of wildlife about. In fact we have lost a pair of slippers and a walking boot to the foxes, a squirrel that can't keep his hand off our nuts! and a heron that visits from time to time and the usual birds

Gardeners' World Web User 03/10/2008 at 13:01

I suppose also this is the time of year when we get a slight wind and end up with 3 ton of leaves, also we have several chestnut trees at the end of the garden (not in the garden but in the woods) its like fighting a losing battle, does anybody know a way of deterring badgers from my garden they have decimated my lawn??

Gardeners' World Web User 03/10/2008 at 13:19

We are still seeing woodpeckers, jays, robins and several other garden birds, but that could be because we are very close to a woods and nature reserve. Also the lawn has scrapings on it most mornings. Not sure if it's squirrels or if the badger is finding a way in again. We have had an unusual visitor this year, which i have found out is an elephant hawk moth caterpillar. I first thought it was a slug. They were last seen demolishing a fuchsia bush, which they apparently love.I've read they will pupate from now until May, when it turns into a very pretty moth.

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