As spring settles in and humans start to relax, cease to believe in the unpredictability of the weather, non human life starts to get excited. The birds have become almost obnoxious. Whilst their song is still delightful – if occasionally repetitive – their antics are less so. There are a couple of red-starts who are disputing possession of the former garage, once my workshop, now Alexandre's atelier. There is an aerial bird fight between the two couples, presumably both males, in front of the atelier which is full of carpentry and other machinery. Also occasionally Alexandre. The machines are noisy and Alexandre is tall. The birds don't seem to care. They are determined to gain possession of last year's wren nests, still attached to the beams. Last year's wrens managed to chase me out.
Then there are the 'docile' doves, making wonderful coo-ing noises and flying gracefully from tree to tree in the back garden. They are also – before our very eyes – eating the flower buds of the Virginia tulip tree. Then they go and have a squabble in the palm tree right next to our terrace whilst we are having the first drink outside
this spring. During the few minutes silence as they fly to the highest point of the twin oaks, an aggressive batrachian Trumpet Voluntary starts up – way out of place, nowhere near any of the ponds. It greets us as we walk through the gates, appears to follow us down to the farm but at least there we have a duck pond. This sound quite drowns the plaintive 'ploop-ploop' of the midwife toad.
And, of course, the newly liberated sheep are making a racket, ewes and lambs.
Whilst the ewes are frantically eating fresh, wet grass and yelling (mouths full) for their lambs, the lambs are running around in circles, jumping up and down and getting their heads stuck in the fencing. Our second year ram, DSK, has been liberated into the woods with a duenna to keep him calm but he does bawl from time to time when he sees the others. Then greed for fresh food takes over and he, too, stuffs his mouth with new grass.
In short, the animals have no respect for humans at all, whatever was written in Genesis 1.26, they did not read or do not believe.
On a quieter note, the wild ducks appear to be settling down between our three ponds. Mostly they are in the reed fringed pond, good for nest building, at the far end of the land. But they do come up to the official duck pond as well as the Black Pond in the Woods. I went up there to look for them and startled three hen pheasants who 'ran' along the fence and disappeared into the woods. Really, those birds need deportment lessons, hen pheasants waddle like ducks.
see what a nice pond we have for the ducks!