They do have babies, at least one, she'd been secreted away in the hedge. I only realised yesterday when I heard more than two sparrows chirping and caught a glimpse of what I thought was mum feeding a baby.
I had to wait until almost the end of the day to get definitive proof (my eyes rather than a photo). There was dad, plain as day, feeding the baby on the outside of the hedge. Well done sparrows.
Big relief. I'm really pleased.
It remains to be seen whether they'll bother with the new Des Res now if the Old Res is doing the job, but perhaps other feathery people will be glad of it.
The other bit of news is that Samantha, our enormous Grass Snake (latin name: natrix natrix helvetica, which I wish I'd known before we called her Samantha, because Helvetica would make a smashing snake name), is still in the garden.
Unfortunately I know this because Teddy pounced on her while she was sunbathing yesterday. Poor thing. She was terrified of him and shot off back into the veg patch (through an improbably tiny hole in the fencing, which perhaps explains how she managed to get in there in the first place). The only part of her I saw was the last foot of her tail as it slid beneath a bush. I hope he hasn't hurt her.
My feelings towards her have evolved since our first sighting (and huge shock) at the weekend. I am now feeling rather tender towards her and glad she is here. She's so scared of everyone I'm more worried that one of the dogs will hurt her than concerned about any shock discovering her would give me. I'm starting to form a bond with her, and once that happens there's no going back: they're under my wing and viewed as a family member for life. Fortunately, all of us are committed animal and wildlife people so we won't have any "I'm scared" moments from the kids.
No, that will come from my poor mother who is terrified of snakes. I've already told her about Samantha Helvetica (even better as a surname) and she's said she'll come to our house in wellies from now on, which all things told I thought was rather brave.
The fact that Grass Snakes (like everything else) are becoming rarer and are not often seen makes it all the more cool to have one residing in the garden, even if she has eaten our toad, whom I still can't find :-(
I am convinced the new pond has brought her into the garden. I have found that it has already introduced several new species and it's only a week old! So if you don't already have a pond or a watery place in your garden it's worth thinking about creating one, even if your chickens fall in to it and make a terrible squawking and flapping as they try to get out, as mine both did yesterday, one after the other. Silly girls!
Ruby and Mrs P enjoying a quiet drink in the afternoon sun...
Quick exit manouvere required.
Pond post coming up....