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Wildlife at Landrick

I've just had a jaw-dropping experience: looking out of the window, I saw an otter ... a large, sleek, dog otter. It was only about 10 yards from the house, running across our driveway, where it met a fence and crossed again - in which instant I managed to attract Keir's attention so he saw it too. We haven't seen it since, but think he must have trotted in through the front gate, and presumably that's the only way he can leave because of our perimeter fence. Otters are my favourite creatures, and previously I've seen them in the wild only from a distance, and only twice before in Scotland (on the River Endrick and on Arran). So I was astounded to find one visiting our garden.

Landrick has the most amazing wildlife. We have a resident heron, known as Harry, who thrives on the fish in the pond, but also sometimes takes frogs and field mice. Roe deer are frequent visitors to the garden: unlike the otter they can easily jump the fence. We see brown hare and buzzard often, and stoat occasionally. We have had oystercatchers nesting in the garden, this year successfully thanks to my improvised shelter which kept the crows off. And a mute swan dropped in for a few days last year.

This year, unlike last when 12 ducklings all perished in their first few days, the ducklings have been a huge success: they were launched later, at the very end of June (instead of April) and their mother has been a total control freak, keeping them close and protecting them overnight by letting all 10 huddle beneath her. While out of line with infant-centred views about little ones choosing for themselves, this has the enormous advantage of having kept the little darlings alive. I wholly approve of this feisty mama, especially when she attacked me (I had picked up a duckling to let grand-daughter Amy stroke its superb down).

For weeks, I didn't even dare blog about them, in case I was tempting Providence, but now they are six weeks old and fledging, they are viable and have as good a chance as any. So here is our feisty mama, leading her offspring in closely controlled formation, with a larger close-up beneath: gorgeous or what?




This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 7, 2008 11:51 AM.

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