The birds are back

Every year pair of mallards arrive in our garden to try out our ponds.

The female has decided that the reeds in the corner would be an ideal location for a nest and sets to work building it.

Meanwhile the male just swims around , clearly impatient to get on with life.

At last an egg is safely delivered into the nest.

Just as the mallards were about to leave a morehen inspects the nest area only to find it is too late!

A female mallard builds a nest from leaves and grasses and lines it with down plucked from her breast! Eggs are laid between mid-March and the end of July. A normal clutch is about 12 eggs, laid at one to two day intervals. After each egg is laid, the clutch is covered to protect it from predators.

It is now day three and there are three eggs in the nest and we watch with anticipation.

A disaster called Doris

The weather in the UK is generally rather benign. However, on Thursday a storm described as a weather bomb was predicted to cross the country. The storm was called “Doris”.

A weather bomb is an intense low-pressure system with a central pressure that falls by 24 millibars in a 24-hour period. There are around 60 weather bombs globally each year, although they are infrequent in the UK.

The Met Office extended its amber – be prepared – warning covering Wales and much of England to London, where winds were expected to reach 60-70mph. It said damage to structures, interruptions to power supplies and widespread disruption to travel networks were likely, and there was a danger of injury from flying debris. Trees were likely to be damaged or blown over, it said.215842Glebe House is just into area one and we were expecting high winds. The garden is very exposed to the south west, the direction we would expect the wind to come from.

17_02_24_4998The predictions were right with an old apple tree losing a significant branch.17_02_24_4992On inspection it is probably worse with a second branch being split and almost certain to be lost.The tree is an old apple tree and had a splendid Rosa Rambling Rector growing up it. 17_02_24_4993Actually the rambling Rector was part of the issue as it made the tree too top heavy.

This is a significant loss to the garden.2010_20100624_505This is the tree in June with Rambling Rector looking incredible.16_12_29_4619And in winter the tree was a real focal point.

So, out with the chain saw this weekend and we will see what it looks like with the broken branches removed. The apple tree was old and dying off in places so I suspect it is going to have to be removed completely. There then remains the question of what to do next!

17_02_21_4966On a much happier note we had two other annual visitors.Each year Mallard Ducks turn up in the garden looking for good nest sites. Some years they have been successful and reared a batch of chicks. They then disappear from the garden only to be back the following year.

She is going to have to decide which of the men she likes best!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
8 558 16