Watching out for wildlife

Spending so much time outside means that we see a lot of wildlife. Every morning we walk past the pond on the way to the yard where the flowers are. It is a draw for all sorts of things – ducks and moorhens, an occasional heron, very occasionally blue flash of a kingfisher, frogs, newts, grass snakes and fish. Not to mention the adorable water voles plopping into the water from their holes on the bank.

We had the most exciting otter display last August when a pair raced and played about in the water before retreating to the thicket for a snack – accompanied by the sound of crunching fish bones – and there are signs that they have paid another visit. 

This week there have been two sightings of a stoat. Although it is exciting to see, I am not so keen on them as they terrorise the water voles as well as the rabbits, and so it all becomes rather more complicated.

Any type of gardening or farming involves protecting your crop from predation, and flower farming is no different. So some sorts of wild life are more popular than others: rabbits, mice and slugs are right down on the list due to their appetite for plants and bulbs. At least we have a hefty fence for the rabbits. The deer could hop in all too easily if they chose to and we see them (red deer, roe and muntjac) often, but so far not near the flower field. My long term solution for the mice population is to encourage the barn owls in. We have 5* indoor and outdoor owl accommodation just waiting to be moved in to in the form of two large owl boxes.

We are so lucky to see all these things on a regular basis and I try hard not to get too upset about who is eating what – unless it is my flowers of course.