Life seems to appear wherever the necessary ingredients come together. Our garden is teeming with a countless number of different examples...
...some more loved than others.
Even so, there is something beautiful about this creature in so much as it has a role in our world that could not be better fulfilled by any imaginable alternative....
...and if the slugs were to disappear our environment would change. Our very existence, on the other hand, might well depend on the survival of the bee.
This image was taken during our very final attempt to grow brassicas.
Another friendly face, that seems to becoming rarer with each year that passes.
The common frog is also under threat over much of Britain, mainly through loss of habitat, but is still doing well here.
There is a sad tale to tell here, involving herons....
Yes! It's you I am talking about...
Roe deer are not encouraged but frequent visitors. On this occasion they are welcome to the windfall apples.
A very rare visitor.
A few years ago we only saw grey squirrels, today we only see red ones. We think the presence of pine martens, which we see now and then, might have something to do with this.
At various times we have also recorded rabbits, foxes, stoats, pine martens, rats, mice, voles, moles and red deer.
Beyond our boundary there is other life to observe, each beautiful and fascinating in its own way...
Over the years there have been pets that have made the garden their home and their lives part of ours..
Spock was a sweet cat - gentle and unassertive.
Monty was something else!
Monty was supervising us, while we were working in what he had quickly come to regard as his garden, when we heard the screams of a rabbit being attacked by a fox, somewhere over the garden wall in the nearby woods. Monty shot off towards the harrowing sound. A few minutes later we saw a fox retreating and eventually Monty sauntered back, looking rather smug, with a baby rabbit dangling from his jaws.
Spock and Monty took refuge with us for a few years. Their temperaments were entirely different but both became members of the family. Their last days were identical, though their response to the situation was quite different. Both suddenly became paralysed and lost the use of their back legs. It must have happened to Monty during the night and in the early morning he dragged himself upstairs, yowling angrily and scratched at the bedroom door for attention. He fought to the end,
We had Spock for an extra year after Monty and she became a little more adventurous. When her back legs gave out, she spent her last night on my knee, purring happily before the visit to the vet next morning. There after a brief attempt to return to her cage, she placidly accepted her fate.
For a while we were visited by what appeared to be a feral cat, He was very wary at first and kept his distance but clearly he had had a home and someone must have loved him. Gradually he relaxed and began to accept my touch. He hung around for a few days but then was gone.
Of course the most prevalent and obvious wild life in the garden are the birds of which we have recorded forty different species.
Robins are with us all year and sing to us in winter. A most photogenic bird!
A friendly bullfinch!
Fledgling greenfinch, not quite sure what to do...
A flock of goldfinch.
There are always one or two pheasants around.
A very sad story!
A pair of pheasants succeeded in rearing five chicks which followed their mother around, or when she gave a particular call, hunkered down where they were and stayed still.Over a couple of weeks we noticed the number of chicks was diminishing. Here she has two left. The next day we heard her calling out in great distress and running round and round the garden dementedly. She was searching for her chicks and it was a most harrowing sight and sound which continued for over an hour. A cat, fox, stoat, raptor...we never identified the villain, nor ever found any trace of the chicks' remains, Even worse, we saw the hen - a smashed and bloodied bundle - on the road a day or so later and it was the cock who spent the next few days searching and calling.
Nuthatch. Central Scotland is not normally part of their range. Perhaps another effect of changing climate.
I am not sure what these two are...
Long tailed tit
A black backed gull. We have seen these in our garden and so it sort of links to our other great bird watching area - on the coast.
They are handsome birds but there is something in their eyes that makes it no surprise that they are descended from dinosaurs.
Only their mother could love them at this stage...
I can't resist puffins.
There are lots of puffins on the Isle of May.
Razorbill and chick.