Most of the Foxes that live around here are looking in tiptop condition:
But two of our resident Foxes do now have mild mange and we need to take action because this is something that we should be able to help with. One of the animals affected is the one-eyed vixen. She has just had cubs and she needs to be well to care for her family and so that they don’t all get mange. Here she is awaiting the nightly peanuts. She’s a bit early:
The second Fox is a male who also has a ropey tail:
Mange is a horrible thing. Caused by parasitic mites, it can quickly spread through a community of Foxes and the animals eventually die, usually by secondary infections getting into sores on their skin.
I have twice previously treated our Foxes successfully for mange by sprinkling drops of Arsen Sulphur onto jam sandwiches and putting these out with the peanuts at dusk. This then needs to be done every day for six weeks. I’m not sure that we will be going anywhere for the next six weeks and so it is perfect timing in that respect.
I emailed the charity The Fox Project to check that it is alright to give Arsen Sulphur to lactating Foxes and they have said that it was fine and that it should indeed clear this mild mange up. They suggested that drops of Arnica 30c could also help and I have now ordered some of that and will drop it onto the sandwiches as well once it arrives.
The one-eyed vixen is a jam sandwich-dispenser’s dream. She is always first on the scene after I have scattered them down. She wolfs most of them before anyone else arrives and so I am definitely getting the medicine into her. The male with mange is more tricky because he generally doesn’t turn up until all the sandwiches have gone. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on for him – maybe we need to put a second batch out later in the evening as well.
Two days after being moved to their new burrow, one of the Badger cubs staged a Great Escape….
…and got ignominiously returned to the sett:
Presumably this cub was then well and truly told off because there have been no further reappearances in the nights that have followed.
The Badgers have been collecting a lot of fresh bedding recently. We put some long dry grass out for them that we had generated whilst working in the meadows:
It had all gone by the morning:
And it was enjoyable watching the videos of them taking it away:
Before this spell of lovely weather, we had many days of strong, bitterly cold north-easterly winds. The meadows are very exposed to winds off the sea and we now realise that the entire 300m of hedgerow along the more elevated western edge has been damaged by these winds and is now brown and withered. There is a lot of Hawthorn in this section of the hedgerow and this had just got its fresh, tender young leaves.
Where there was some shelter from the winds, such as along this path, the hedgerow remains joyously green and the Hawthorn is about to come out into flower.
I am sure that this hedgerow is going bounce back and will green up again over the next few weeks, especially once the Blackthorn element gets into leaf. However, it has to be likely that all the Hawthorn will not now flower this year and consequently there will be no berries for the wildlife along this whole stretch in the autumn and this is very bad news.
The orchard is in blossom. I can’t decide if I prefer Pear blossom with its lovely dark anthers against the white petals:
or Apple blossom with its exquisite shades of pink:
We realise that we need to pay more attention to the pruning of this odd-looking Pear tree below. There are two varieties grafted onto one trunk, Doyenne du Commice on the left and Conference on the right, but they are growing to different heights and shapes and remedial action needs to be taken this coming winter:
Last autumn, I planted several different types of Tulip to be used as cut flowers this spring.
Having home grown flowers in the house always gives me an immense amount of pleasure:
The RSPB and Operation Turtle Dove have sent us 60kg of Turtle Dove seed mix that we will be putting up onto the strip for 8 weeks from the beginning of May, following their guidelines on how best to do this. Hopefully 2020 will be the year when Turtle Doves drop by, see the scattered seed and all the lovely nesting opportunities that we have for them here, and decide to stay and breed.
This seed is for Turtle Doves and so we won’t put it in the feeding cages, where it would be inaccessible to larger birds like Doves. However, the cages have proved such a success in retaining available food for smaller farmland birds, that we still plan to put some of our own seed into the cages. We regularly move these cages so that there is not a build up of uneaten food that may then harbour disease.
This is a very unflattering trail camera photo of the dog:
She looks like some kind of Yeti but perhaps we are all going to look like that when we emerge, blinking and tentative, out of lock-down.
The bird ringer has recently bought a moth trap and needless to say he is already much more competent than me. But I’m not about to embark on competitive mothing, although the concept does make me giggle. He caught a very rare moth over the weekend in his nearby garden – a Barred Tooth-Striped Moth. This Moth used to be recorded widely over the UK but has now dramatically declined with only 63 records nationally since 2000. The larval food plant is Wild Privet.
A Red Kite is still a show-stopping sight here and one flew over on Easter Sunday:
A Tawny Owl is still regularly visiting the ant paddock on calm nights:
We saw this male Sparrowhawk in one of our Pine trees at dusk:
A Linnet in a treetop:
Female Green Woodpecker:
And a male Starling (blue at the base of the beak) having a drink:
The meadows look east over the sea to where the Sun and the Moon rise up above the horizon. For the first few wonderful minutes they are often blood red and my last photo for today is the Moon coming up one evening last week in all its magnificent splendour: