Having acquired the vineyard, we appear to have also inherited most of Farthing Wood in our back garden. First, a horde of crows stand guard on our barn and show very little fear to humans, machines or life in general. I fear these mean-looking birds offer Welcombe Hills what the rooks offer the Tower of London, so will do nothing to annoy or deter them as they were here long before me so surely have squatters rights.
On the lighter side, a family of deer decided to make camp last year within the vines and can still be found later at night caught in the headlights of the car. As beautiful as they, are we are doing our best to discourage them as grapes seem to be their snack of choice. Alas, our deer fence is taken with the ease of an olympic hurdler so new methods of deterrent will need to be found.
Birdlife is all around us. Red Kites have started to circle above the vineyard, putting shame to our imitation bird scarers. A beautiful green woodpecker flashes through the vines and enjoys them as a perch and a gulp of magpies (8 on the last count on which I am wishing a good harvest). There are so many other varieties that I fear I need to become a twitcher to keep up.
Brock the Badger makes himself known only at night. I guess its not the same one each time we see it, and we are told there is a set close by. Mole has not been seen yet but I am sure is not far behind.
Finally, although used to the urban variety jumping in our bins in London, Mr Wild Fox keeps the local bunnies hopping but I am yet to see him catch anything yet!
Without a doubt, the pleasure of moving into the countryside from London has come in many forms, wildlife being just one. From a family perspective the introduction into country life for my two Tiggers ( Spencer 3 and Winston 6) has been spectacular. For now we will let them enjoy their childhood but around the corner we have lots of ideas of ways for them to earn some pocket money!