Barn Ducks

We have some wild ducks that are frequent visitors to the barn – it’s strange that they’ve always come because until recent years there’s been no pond or big river really close by. Earlier in the year it was a little crazy with one female turning up with at least four males in tow. Now things seem to have been decided – there’s usually just one male, and the female is scouting for a nest site. A favourite place is in the bank just outside the kitchen door, where tree roots make a dry and cosy ‘cave’.

The ducks are wild, and wary of people… unless the person has bread. It’s amazing, step out the kitchen door with some food and the ducks come running ! It’s easy to get a photo while they’re distracted.

Barn ducks - March 2015

Barn ducks – March 2015

I have an unbelievable duck story – but put aside your disbelief because it’s all true. A few years ago, maybe 2002, there was a duck nesting at the barn. At this time the barn was being renovated, I was living in the ‘Shed’, and the garden was quite wild. One evening I heard the duck get scared by something, and fly off just before dark. I didn’t think she’d come back in the dark, so after waiting a while I went and checked the nest – there was a clutch of eggs. I didn’t think they’d survive the night without the duck, so brought them in the Shed and set up a light bulb to keep them warm. Unbelievably, during a long night a couple of the ducklings did hatch. They were horrible looking, with no feathers, and a yoke sack on their tummies – I fell asleep thinking there was something wrong with them and they would surely die. I woke early to find the horrible looking things had been transformed into two cute fluffy ducklings ! The duck flew back into the garden after sunrise, I ran out and replaced the eggs (and ducklings) in the nest before the duck got there.. and she took back over.

In the short time the duck was at the barn with her ducklings, before making the journey to the river Fowey, I made them a temporary pool out of some plastic sheet – and they used it ! There was one mishap when one duckling tried to go under the plastic to get into the pool. It was certainly determined – when I found it it had forced itself forward until it was sandwiched between the plastic and the blocks underneath, completely unable to move. This was one of several rescues required, before the family headed off for the river.

Barn ducklings - 2002

Barn ducklings – 2002

Mallard ducks can live 20 years, although the average life expectancy is only 3 years. Is one of the ducks that visits the garden now one of the ducklings that enjoyed the temporary pool?

Lansallos Beach Clean

On March 19th the ‘litter-picking heroes’ were on Lansallos Beach, I joined them for a few hours of beach cleaning.

To the Beach - from Lansallos Village

To the Beach – from Lansallos Village

The heroes, lead by the National Trust, had been on Lantic Beach the day before – the ‘litter’ here included a tractor tyre which was dug out of the sand and rolled up the hill to get it off the beach. If, or when, you’ve walked up the path from Lantic Beach you’ll understand what an impressive effort that was.

In spring 2014 Lansallos Beach was a mess, the huge winter storms had thrown up so much trash – the worst was polystyrene which had been broken up and blasted up the cliffs behind the beach by the gales. The National Trust, and others, did a lot of work to clean up the mess, and now the beach is looking pretty good.

Lansallos Beach - Cleaned

Lansallos Beach – Cleaned

Trash collected at Lansallos included: many plastic drink bottles being broken down to small fragments, lost fishing line, and a lot of cloth fragments. I found one Lego block, which I’d like to think came from the container of Lego lost in 1997, which is still being washed up on Cornish beaches.

As always, the path down to the beach is half the experience – the banks were covered in wild garlic and primroses.

Path to Lansallos Beach - Primroses

Path to Lansallos Beach – Primroses


I’m not really sure I like daffodils, they get a bit overwhelming when every hedge is full of them – I prefer the subtle prettyness of the Primrose.
But.. Mole Valley Farmers did have a good deal on Daffodil bulbs last year, so we got 2 sacks and planted the lot. After first poking up through the grass early in February the Daffodils are now in full flower – the splash of yellow across the garden is lovely. Maybe I do like Daffodils.

Kitchen Door - Daffodils - March 2015

Kitchen Door – Daffodils – March 2015

Kitchen - Daffodils

Kitchen – Daffodils

Spring is coming !

It’s winter at the barn, the trees are bare, the ground is cold and wet. The rain was relentless through January.

Winter - Winter 2015

Winter – Winter 2015

But, at the start of February the days are noticeably lengthening, the weather has changed to cold and clear. Spring is on the way !

Frost - Winter 2015

Frost – Winter 2015

The thing I like about this time of year is that the nice days feel special, a hint of things to come.

We’ve been busy planting the garden. Hundreds of daffodil bulbs went in during the Autumn, and now they’re all starting to come up.