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We had a fabulous sunset last night.  After yet another cloudy start to the morning things gradually improved so that by early afternoon it was bright and much warmer than of late, though still with a stiff northerly breeze.  I spent the whole day at home – a real luxury – household chores in the morning and a little gardening in the afternoon.  Because we haven’t had much rain recently I decided to water everything very thoroughly yesterday evening so went outside again after our evening meal.  I started off with lots of watering cans filled from our water-butts which I used in the greenhouse, on plants in tubs in ericaceous soil and on as many of the other plants and flower beds as I could manage.  I then used the hosepipe for the rest of the thirsty plants.  We have a water meter so are careful not to use the garden hose any more than we have to.  We save as much water as we can in water-butts but carrying lots of filled two-gallon cans round the garden is tiring work.

As I watered the plants I listened to the birds calling to each other as they do in the evening.  Gradually the day-time birds fell silent and the night-time sounds began.  One of the sounds we have been listening to for the last couple of weeks is the calling of a couple of Tawny owlets in the trees opposite our house.  It started with just one owl calling on its own but a few days later another one joined in.  They call every few seconds for the whole night from about 8.30pm until dawn the next morning.  They become very noisy every now and then, clamouring and squeaking and I assume that is when they are being fed.   They must be getting quite big by now as their voices are louder and they are moving through the trees.  Sometimes they are near the end of the lane where they started off and sometimes they are in the ash tree opposite our house.  I am used to the noise they make now but at first it was difficult to get to sleep.

The sunset picture I took yesterday evening was at 9.30pm and it was still light enough for me to see round the garden without a torch at 11pm.  It starts to get light just before 3am and by 3.30am to 4am most of the birds are singing again.  I have to collect all the bird feeders that are near the house if they still have food in them and bring them into the porch or greenhouse.  This is because of the rooks who descend on the feeders at the crack of dawn and have loud arguments among themselves just under our bedroom window.  Unfortunately, we are still being woken by a rook despite there not being any food outside the house (there are other feeders further down the garden that we leave out).  This rook is a young one who doesn’t seem to want to learn to feed itself.  It follows its parent about calling loudly and not watching the adult bird as it shows its fledgling where to find food.


Young rook


Young rook


The fledgling has just noticed its parent has arrived.  The parent hopes it hasn’t been noticed!


The fledgling is calling and fluttering its wings and the parent resignedly goes to join it.


Off they go together to look for food under the tree.  Poor parent rook – all the other rooks’ fledglings have gone off a week or more ago and only this one is left, unable to feed itself.

Another young family we have in the garden are three mallard ducklings with their mother.

006Mallard duck with ducklings

We have been watching this little family grow from tiny little balls of fluff to these young ducks.

026Mallard duck with three ducklings

An over-exposed photo of them on the 9th of June

014Mallard duck with 3 ducklings

And here they are on the 12th of June.

017 Three ducklings resting on lily-pads

Here they are resting on lily-pads.  The smallest one on the right is fast asleep.

018Two ducklings resting on lily-pads

019Sleeping duckling


They visited the ground feeder the following day.  Only the smallest one can get through the mesh now.

036Duck and ducklings

We briefly had another family of mallards that same day.  This time there were eight ducklings.

016Mallard duck with 8 ducklings

We had another visitor last night but it was an adult this time.009Hedgehog

A hedgehog.