Saturday, 6 May 2017

Unwanted or unexpected guests

Every so often we find some strange things in the garden or around the house.

Lost and found
Sometimes these are droppings or pellets we cannot determine, or it is a splat of bird poo which is often difficult to scrub off, or we find a piece of snake skin which some snake abandoned somewhere.
Often one finds out only after some time what sort of animal was the culprit, but not always. And since we have no cameras around the house it is more by good luck than good management that one finds out what animal was the guilty one.

One morning we saw, whilst doing the washing up, a grown up fox wondering around the garden. And before it spotted us and could make a run for it, we managed to take some pictures of the fox.

A cow between the fruit trees
At another occasion we found some cow pats in the garden. It was quite obvious who was or were guilty, however, how one or more cows ended up in the garden stayed a mystery. During a second invasion we found out that there had been, for a while, a broken piece of fencing between meadow and garden, nicely hidden by bramble bushes. The cows just barged in and ended up in our garden.

When the château in Cormatin had two storks nesting on one of the chimneys (that was before the chatelain chased them away after having put up with them for several years) they often made a pit stop at the pond in our meadow.

Wild boar (stuffed, at the market in Louhans)
Although wild boar lives in the woods around us, we hardly ever see them. Sometimes, late in the evening, we have seen a sow with young piglets wandering along the soft shoulder of the paths through the woods, but a) one does not always have a camera at hand, b) it is often too dark to take a picture and c) I am enough of a scaredy-cat (in itself a protected species) not wanting to disturb a possibly aggressive sow.

Roe deer at the gate
Roe deer are also not uncommon, but they are wise enough to stay put during the hunting season. The only roe we managed to "shoot" we saw eating leaves on the path at our gate on a cold winter morning (within the hunting season, by the way).

Dead badger
There must be quite some badgers around here. Proof are the dead badgers we have seen laying along the roadside, obviously hit by cars during the night whilst crossing the road.

Green whip snake
And the snakeskins? We find them in the weirdest places. This area knows some quite big (about 5 feet long) snakes, non-poisonous, who feed on mice and other small vermin. The species is called the green whip snake. We have never found enough skin to turn it into a purse or handbag, though.

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