Wild and not so wild life

[singlepic id=39 h=200 float=left]Wildlife is an important part of Gwalia and we try to be as encouraging and respectful of nature as possible.  There is a badger set here, bats live in the woods, an otter has been spotted and many different types of birds regularly feed on the bird table and nest nearby.  The ponds also host a fantastic range of species.  Of particular note is the dragon-flies which get counted annually by a local  research team as part of their on-going ecological studies.

We’re hoping to be able to better share the fantastic wildlife with future visitors and we have a few ideas on how to make that work.  We’re very aware however of the need to be sensitive and unobtrusive so as not to disturb the wildlife who share our little patch.

[singlepic id=50 h=200 float=right] Livy has always been keen to share the farmyard experience with children and has spent many hours of her usual morning routine with visiting kids helping them to understand where their food comes from.  Milking the goats, feeding chickens and collecting their eggs has been a big feature of the Gwalia experience in the past.

The future of Gwalia visitors may change however and so we’re looking at some different ways to entertain a slightly older nature-loving clientèle.  Amy’s purchased  a mini webcam to set up in a bird box, of which there are many.  We’re too late for this year but within a 20m radius of the house we currently have 2 house martin nests, 1 swallow, 1 pied flycatcher, 1 spotted flycatcher, 1 wagtail and 2 blue tit nests.  It’s been wonderful to watch the parents busily coming and going with constant meals for the chicks and even more delightful to watch the chicks taking their first nervous and anxious flights.  We’ve been on watch for the 2 cats who are on permanent mouse patrol, alas there is the occasional feathered victim.

Aside from the birds I’ve loved dusk time bat-spotting walks and of course dusk is also the prime-time for badger watching.  On “the long-list” is a badger hide.  The common land on the hill behind the house is home to dozens of badgers who do evening patrols through the grounds.  The on-going fencing battle to keep them out of the veggie patch is being won but there is the opportunity to set up a little hide so that we can share this delight with guests and locals alike.  We visited an amazing night-time hide on the Rothiemurchus Estate in the Cairngorms and had the most unique experience of being up close with badgers, pine martins, deer and  more.  It’s such a good way to view nature up close because it lit up the area outside the hide whilst inside the wooden hut was kept dark – you could see them but they couldn’t see you.  We are inspired so watch this space, we will hopefully re-create our very own Springwatch in the back garden!

In the meantime Amy is armed with a camera and she knows how to use it!  We’ll keep posting wildlife pics to share with those who haven’t been able to come and visit us yet.

Here’s some of our pictures so far –

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