Friday, 31 March 2017

Deer here

This morning, I saw a Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus, corzo in Spanish, cabirol in Catalan)

Picture from Wikimedia Commons

It was running down the track near the Croft. The dogs, Islay and Biscuit, had put it up, but it easily outpaced them with its beautiful elastic stride on delicate legs.

The Roes were introduced in the Montnegre Natural Park by the hunting clubs there, in 1993. Ten individuals, captured in Landes de Gascunya (in Occitania, South West France) were released, five males and five females, all equipped with radio collars. The objective was to improve game hunting in the area (no, I don't approve of that objective...)

Between us and Montnegre is a motorway, a main road and two railway lines - one normal and one high-speed. These barriers have slowed down the spread of the deer but we've had partial sightings over the last year or so here at the Croft. Today's was the first sighting in full daylight, so great to be able to confirm the species.

Deer, here, make us a little bit wilder.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Patrick's no weel

Patrick the junior donkey is not well. Nothing dramatic, but we had the vet in yesterday to take a look at him.

They shut me in...

He'd been seen in the field with a locked rear leg - caused, says the vet, by a ligament locking over the knee.This is 'Locking Stifles' and the vet cured it quickly by making Patrick take a few steps backward.

He is convalescing - luxuriously - in his stable where we are pandering him with apple and carrots. Crofter's son just took him for a short walk, and he's much better. Phew!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Winter becomes Spring

The winter is over. While the astronomic winter carries on for another week to 19th March, it's all over here. Yesterday the thermometer went above 20ºC. The donkeys have a new field to enjoy.

Smokin' Donkeys
Spring has sprung, the grass has riz...

It's the grass, man

  ...and the toads are frolicking in the irrigation tank. These are Midwife Toads, I think, and the male is much smaller than his girlfriend. Toad sex is a long, drawn-out affair:

I have been checking my bees and the signs are good; they have survived the winter - no surprise, it was so mild - and seem in fine feckle for the Spring campaign. The blackthorn is in full flower, as is the rosemary, so there is no shortage of nectar.