Willow tree dramas

Willow tree7/5/2016 It’s all action here in the dead willow tree by the pond this morning. First, one of my chickens alerted me to a stoat running across the lawn: I could see it had something light coloured in its mouth, which suggested it was an egg. I went to look to see if it had been raiding a moorhen’s or duck’s nest, and found in the hollow of the trunk another egg (a duck’s I believe; I think it unlikely to have been a chicken’s white or green egg, as I have never known a stoat to venture so close to the house where the chickens – currently! – lay) that had also been broken open. However, it was not in a nest, and looked as though it, and presumably at least one other that the stoat had just taken away, had been temporarily stashed there to come back for later.

A couple of minutes later I saw a squirrel run down the trunk of the same willow, carrying something relatively large in its mouth. I am beginning to realise the severe disadvantages of not wearing my glasses all the time while I am outside, as I could not see clearly what it was. It had a long tail, which looked like it was made of feathers, but its body was also fairly large and round, so it could not have been a long-tailed tit. Did the squirrel kill it or was it an opportunistic grabbing of an already dead bird? I think more likely the latter. But I didn’t even know squirrels ate animals: my ignorance continues as healthy as ever. Perhaps they are more like their rat cousins than I realised and will eat whatever is available…

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