After the cold and wet weather, we had a break with sun and a warm 12C temperature. We decided to go for a walk in the local area and drove over to Stowe Gardens. It is that time of year, Snowdrop season. R had booked our arrival time online a couple of days before. We arrived and walked down from the car park. The NT shop, restaurant and loos were of course closed. A small van was selling coffee and light lunches at the entrance. (We had already stocked up with Ginsters Cornish pasty from our local shop.)
A longish walk down the hill to the gardens, where our names were checked. The loos were here, a row of Portaloos. We enjoyed a three-hour walk, with a well-deserved lunch break of Pasty. The Snowdrops were somewhat a disappointment, there were clusters of them, but not the huge waves of them there were a few years back.
We met a man and wife taking pictures of the snowdrops with a background of the Temple of Ancient Virtue. He was using a 4×5 Walker Camera. I believe he could adjust the angle of the photographic plate to reduce converging verticles and change the plane of focus. At least he doesn’t have hundreds of images to choose from when doing his final edits.
It has been several weeks since the last Secret Life of The Compost Heap post video. There has been a lack of subjects. I moved the camera to a new location for a week and recorded nothing but rabbits. Back at the compost heap, and the odd fox and badger. It was cold, so maybe they were keeping out of the cold, snuggled down somewhere.
After filming a few scenes of the rabbit hole, I repositioned the camera to look to the left of the rabbit hole where there is a wildlife path. Sure enough, badgers and foxes passed by. The foxes walking by and investigating the second entrance to the rabbit burrow. The foxes are rather camera-shy and can see the Infra-Red light. You can see one small fox being very hesitant. Alas, the Polecat has not been seen again. One domestic cat comes by regularly.
During the day one of our pheasants came by walking towards the bird feeders. You can see him run back a little later. Somebody must have opened the doorway to the house and scared him.
There is a short scene with a little field mouse. Cute.
The disappearing Polecat (Mustela putorius), hungry fox (Vulpes vulpes), Badger (Meles meles), Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Field Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)
Where has our polecat (Mustela putorius) gone? We have not seen it for over a week. For several days it came out and played, and now he has gone. I start this video with a short recap of last week’s video. There is the polecat rolling on the ground, he spots the fox and then with fear backs into the hole. You see the fox smelling the ground around where the polecat had rolled. Mr Fox then leaves, coming back at 7.55 in the morning and going straight underground. The new video images start, and you see Mr Fox rush out at 13.47.
We never saw the polecat again; we fear Mr Fox has had a polecat breakfast.
During the rest of the week, Mr Fox and Brock the Badger made appearances, including a very wet Badger during the overnight rain.
A beautiful (??) cat paid the compost heap a fleeting visit. We have seen her before, we don’t know which Humes she owns.
I moved the camera to the other hole last night, not much other than rabbits, and a cute mouse. I removed the card just as the snow had started, and there is an image of a rabbit in the snowfall.
The same Compost Heap, different rabbit hole. Tonight we were visited by the cute Polecat, a member of the Mustelid family. The Polecat rolled around the ground where a rabbit had been digging. Was it trying to disguise its scent? The previous night was a mystery, the camera failed to operate for some reason.
We have recently been wondering where all the rabbits had gone. Over Summer the grassland around our house had been inundated with rabbits. Since the autumn the number of rabbits has reduced. Even Garden Bunny who I reported on in October has vanished. A tasty morsel for the Polecat, or Mr Fox?
Another night and the same compost heap, but a different set of starring animals. The Rabbits and Mouse appeared and hogged the camera. They made a hasty getaway when the starring animals appeared, a Fox and a Polecat. The Polecat appeared out of the rabbit hole, and later at the end can be seen rushing back in. The Fox stood and looked at the camera. The later images are poor because of a light frost covering on the lens.