Friday, 13 January 2012

A Picnic for Samuel Whiskers


We had a crisp white frost this morning. By lunchtime, the ice had thawed but the air was bitterly cold and garden birds were hungry. I made a Bird Pudding from soaked wholemeal bread, currants and sunflower seeds and I stirred in the last crumbs of a Christmas Wensleydale cheese.

The peanut holder and the fat basket were busy all morning, feeding hungry blue tits and long tailed tits. A greater spotted woodpecker and a pair of nuthatches visited, but stayed away when I had time to wait with the camera.



Bird Pudding......




...and a long tailed tit arriving for lunch.


Two shy brown dunnocks waited around on the stems of the old climbing rose.......



....until one of them found seed and scraps on the ground beneath the bird table.



The cats were watching through the window. Suddenly, Lucy`s ears shot forwards and her whiskers began to vibrate. With body tense, she watched something climbing down a thick old rose stem.



Making his way past the fat balls and down towards the bird table was the reason we have recently heard scuffling and small footsteps in the space between the upstairs floorboards.
Mr Samuel Whiskers and his wife, Anna Maria, have come to stay!



The two sleek young rats climbed down and feasted on Bird Pudding. Each time I tried to photograph them , they moved, quick as a flash..... I need a more sophisticated camera with a faster shutter speed, but I don`t need rats in the attic!

Here you can see the plump, thick-coated abdomen of Samuel Whiskers. He and his grey mate are two beautiful young creatures. Their intelligence and their pair bonding behaviour are fascinating to watch. How we are going to move them on to pastures new is another matter. Maybe Lucy and the Ginger Man will take matters into their own paws?









I don`t think that Forest Cat will bother to go outside and help them.......



13 comments:

Bovey Belle said...

Well, you may have Recycled Rats soon if your intrepid hunters get their way . . . Cheeky little devils, especially with you having to provide the "bed" to go with the "board" . . .

Watching the birdlife at your feeders is one of our favourite things when we come to stay : )

Mum said...

Who needs a television. Just open your eyes and view. Beautiful pics.
Love from Mum
xx

rachel said...

Oh dear.... The sad thing is, it could be the Whiskers Clan in next to no time! Handsome pair, they are.

Isabelle said...

Hmm. There's liking wildlife and then there's....

Is that the view from your back garden? Lucky you! Or maybe it wasn't luck but very good judgement!

angryparsnip said...

Wonderful photos.
I wish I could have a bird feeder but because of where I live and the destructive pack rats, and the other ground critters that are constantly trying to invade my home... I can't have one.
You are so lucky to see so many wonderful birds !
Release the kitties !

cheers, parsnip

WOL said...

I have a window into the back yard that is highly favored by the cats. I refer to it as "The Bird Channel" -- one of their favorite programs. Did Miss Lucy chatter when she saw the rats?

Rowan said...

I've just been ouit filling all the birdfeeders after aheavy frost last night. We get longtailed tits and the greaterspotted woodpecker regularly along with lots of other birds. We had a brown rat on and in the feeders last spring so I brought them all in for the summer. So far he seems to have moved on! I can't put out anything that isn't in a cage though as the grey squirrels simply take everything.

Arthur Ransome said...

I'm sure there are such things as humane rat traps. Then relocation, relocation. Beautiful and intelligent creatures. I hope you manage to move them.

Toffeeapple said...

What lovely pictures, I do like to see what birds people have in their gardens. I wonder what you will do about the rats? They are such intelligent creatures that I hate to think of them being dispatched but you can't have them living with you.

WOL said...

I've been having problems trying to comment. Seeing if I'm still having a problem with commenting.

Crafty Green Poet said...

it's good that the rats are distracting the cats from the birds...

Morning's Minion said...

Not sure why I can find mice mildly appealing [as long as they don't infringe on MY territory] but the idea of rats carries an evil connotation--perhaps because of their association with plague, or their commonly unsavory depiction in childhood story books.
Years ago we had to put out poison for an invasion of rats in our farm corncrib. One came blundering into the old farmhouse and brushed against my ankles as I stood washing dishes. It wasn't a pleasant experience.
Our Willis has been known to dispatch a rat or two up at the big barn. I worry that he may be bitten, but he seems to know his business.

BilboWaggins said...

Oh dear, wildlife you don't want to see at the bird table.

Interesting that for the first time in four years, last week I saw a small Rattus norvegicus under the log store. Sadly, where there is one there will be many, many more. With a heavy heart I will be putting down poison. Bang go my organic credentials?

If I don't then ground nesting birds won't stand a chance this season, nor will the pheasant chicks when our Mums bring them here for lunch.