Sunday, 23 June 2013

Garden Chairs are NOT Meant For Squirrels...But Moth Boxes are DEFINITELY Meant for Elephant Hawk Moths

I am quickly revising my opinion of these furry people. M calls them RODENTS, injecting the word with the kind of scorn that leaves you in no doubt at all about his feelings. I, until now, have defended them, because there has been only one and one squirrel in the garden is really rather sweet in the way one of anything is special.

The trouble is, there is no longer Only One Squirrel In The Garden. Other squirrels have arrived. They discovered the bird feeder in the front garden towards the end of last week, and, once they'd worked out a suitably quick getaway (leap off the feeder, hare down the front path for 6 or 7 strides, then sharp left beneath the veg patch gate, 3 strides across it then up and over the fence, across the neighbours' drive and up into a huge fir tree from where no one can reach them) they have begun to frequent the front garden, with the stress being on the word "frequent." We are now suffering a deluge of squirrels and the fat balls are barely lasting a day :-(

In itself this would still not really be a problem were it not for the fact that Teddy has an inbuilt Fail-Safe Early Warning Squirrel Detection System which goes off without warning, loudly and relentlessly from dawn to dusk. Over the last three or four mornings it has started very early (indecently close to dawn) and I can personally testify to the fact that it is well and truly firing on more than all cylinders.

Yesterday (Saturday) we got a 7am Start Up Squirrel Warning which took the form of him yelling at the top of his voice as he repeatedly crashed into the glass doors while the squirrels sat nonchalantly on the fence opposite laughing at him. As his bedroom is directly beneath ours we did not find this as funny as the squirrels did.
This morning we were woken at 6 with more barking, whining and crashing. The moth box was out and it was useful to get up and close it before all my fluttery friends flew away, but even so I was not a happy girl.

These feelings were cemented later in the day when I observed this from the kitchen window. As far as I know the chairs in the garden were not put there as somewhere for the squirrels to rest and put their feet up when feeling a bit weary because they've been up since dawn baiting Ted. I call it taking the piss (been told off by my son for swearing so will change that to...) proverbial. Something Will Have To Be Done. Looks comfortable doesn't he?


My crossness was mollified by the contents of the moth box, which despite rain in the night yielded what may well prove to be my favourite catch yet. An Elephant Hawk Moth. What a beauty.


There was also a Clouded Border, another very pretty moth and another new one for me. For some unacountable reason he was on the wall inside the house. Perhaps he came in when M stomped downstairs to have severe words with Ted and put him in the garden at 6am. .


We popped out into the forest first thing to exercise the children before lunch with my lovely in-laws, (which always involves copious quantities of gin and much delicious food), also to take Ted's mind of squirrels. Luckily, there were none in the woods (because they've all moved into our garden) so he returned a more chilled-out dog. It can not last though. I fully expect to be woken at 5 tomorrow with more barking. In fact, I might not bother to set the alarm as Ted seems to be doing the job for us.

The Wild Shetlands were grazing down by the river and I thought the foal worthy of a photo or two...



I'll leave you with some pics of the Blackbird's Child and the Blue Tit Babies. The Blue Tits are making a right old racket (fit in fact to compete with Ted), demanding to be fed and following their exhausted parents around like demented balls of fluff on wings. Adorable though. Ooh, and I've also at long last seen the Woodpecker's Child, just a very quick flash of a glance through the branches of the twisted willow this morning where he was being fed by mum, but now I know he's around hopefully it won't be long before pictures.

 





Hope everyone's had a good restful weekend and that the coming week is kind to you. I'm looking forward to Wimbledon. Can Andy Murray do it this year? That's the question....

19 comments:

  1. HI CT I have just received you comments for myypost today adn it seems everytime I leave a reply, the one above disappears adn i cannot find an email on your blog as I ahve with the other people before so can I say thanks you now. Rathlin is an amzing place and thse eggs are fantastic esspecially when you can have them in your own hand.

    Anyway, I have enjoyedyour post today bbitht the photos and the way you write. Very humerous. I love the young birds and the foal is gorgeous. If yu can email me with your email, I will reply directly again as this problem seems to be persisting. It is a pain. My email is at the bottom of my profile. Hope you had a good weekend. Margaret

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    1. Hi Margaret. Thanks for the message and please don't worry, blogger seems to suffer from these gremlins every now and then :-)

      Glad you enjoyed the post. We are somewhat over-run with young birds at present. I'm not complaining- it was such a slow start it's a joy to have them here now.

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  2. That Elephant Hawk Moth is so beautiful - it looks like something out an interior design magazine!

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    1. Amazing isn't it? My next goal is an Oleander Hawk Moth, but as they are African and we don't have any oleanders I think the chances are probably slim!

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  3. Oh dear..
    Good news on the woodpecker chick though, eh..

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    1. Yes I suppose one balances the other ;-)

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  4. Great post :) Enjoyed reading about Teddy and the Grey Squirrels - it was very funny :)Although I would be very cross too :) We have a squirrel "problem". Have a squirrel proof nuttery but most of the feeders are attached to a feeding station pole (homemade from a line prop!!) with metal arms at top to hang feeders. Half way up is an upturned washing up bowl with rim cut off to act as a "baffle" and keep squirrels off feeders. Dreadful description but hope you get the idea!

    Well done on the Elephant Hawk-moth - what a beauty :)

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    1. I love your squirrel solution and will see how we can modify our feeders similarly.

      Poplar Hawk moth in the box today as well as a Maiden's Blush (what a superb name) :-)

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  5. It's just a thought, but I reckon this might just work...well, in my mind it would work....so, build Teddy a Perspex kennel and let him sleep outside for a few days. Train him in the art of Mime. Then, when the squirrels have been lulled into a false sense of security i.e they think Teddy is imprisoned in his Perspex kennel and they are 'safe', take away one side of the kennel. Now this is the tricky bit...Teddy must pretend that the wall is still there for a couple of days via the medium of Mime e.g scrabbling against the 'invisible' wall and doing 'silent' barking. The squirrels will think they are still safe.

    And then comes the cunning part. On the third day, squirrels appear, Teddy starts his 'invisible wall' mime, and then BURSTS forth and scares the living bejeezus out of the squirrels. And hopefully they will be so traumatised by the sheer cunningness of it all, plus the sudden loud barking and the feel of hot doggy breath very close to their furry little tushes they will go and pester someone else for fat balls!

    I reckon it's a go-er.

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    1. That is a plan worthy of Sir Baldrick at his most cunning. I shall impart it to Teddy forthwith and report back on the results.

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  6. Really funny account CT :-) Sounds like you need squirrel proof feeders (not sure any really are) and that Teddy needs a sleep mask and ear plugs :-)

    The Elephant Hawk Moth is a real beauty, I've only ever seen them in photos for obvious reasons. Lovely bird photos, glad you've seen the young GSW.

    I'm a big tennis fan and as I write this I'm floating between the Murray match and the Nadal. Hope you are enjoying watching too.

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    1. I love the idea of Teddy in a sleep mask- that's genius and I will have to investigate it further :-)

      I'd shown a friend a pic of the elephant hawk moth the afternoon before we saw ours and expressed a hope of one day finding one so I really couldn't believe my eyes next morning when there he/ she was.

      I haven't managed to see any tennis yet (but have recorded the highlights) however M says Nadal was knocked out! That's what Wimbledon does so well I think- these unexpected upturned tables with giants being dislodged by low ranking players.

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  7. Excellent! And I shall check my ancestry for traces of Baldricks!

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  8. I know you wont be pleased to hear this but we have no squirrels. Its the first time I have ever lived anywhere without them robbing my bird food....and now I miss them! Your bird feeders will no longer look pretty, there will be a variety of squirrel defences around them (which you must change regularly as they will find a way). Love the moths and ponies.

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    1. Ah, I made the mistake of telling Jessica at Rusty Duck that when she was beset by squirrels and we had none, and now look at us. Let this serve as a warning Suze- Squirrel smugness comes before a fall... ;-)

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  9. Are the squirrels taking over - we saw 2 squirrels in our garden over the weekend previously we too have only seen one! They haven't reached the stage on using our garden chairs yet! Daisy (being an aged lady of 11) doesn't bark at them although she wants to get out. How fantastic to discover the Elephant Hawk Moth.
    Sarah x

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    1. Could Daisy have a word with Ted Sarah and explain how barking early in the morning does not go down well with parents?
      The Elephant Hawk Moth was a real stunner. CT x

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  10. I had to laugh at this - but I sympathise, too. My dog Harry is the same with mice (although fortunately he doesn't see them that often). Then he becomes terrier-obsessed. The Elephant Hawk Moth is beautiful.

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    1. Terrier-obsessed is definitely the word. He seems to be getting worse as he gets older :-( He sends his best regards to Harry and says he agrees about the mice :-)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x