Animal encounters of the not so good kind. The cycle of Life.

Animal encounters at Navasola are few and far between. Much life is out there but usually elusive. A bird alights on a branch nearby and then moves behind some leaves and as if it knows you are watching creeps up the tree mainly out of view. Just enough for us to know it is there. So we were surprised and alarmed by a sudden bang at our kitchen window. It was a beautiful Red Rumped swallow. We were all taken by surprise and thankfully after allowing me to take some photos it recovered and flew off. The fat fly was left dead on the store roof.

The park regulations for windows are strange and large ones are not allowed. We would love more light but maybe it would be difficult for birds flying into the glass by mistake. We will get some bird stickers but that would have made no difference to the Red Rumped swallow on its mad chase of a fat fly. I’m glad the bird was only a little stunned and flew off in good feather.

Red rump swallow on battery shed roof after flying into window chasing fly!
Red rump swallow on shed roof after flying into window chasing fly!

Another encounter was the return of the Wood Mouse and with a vengeance in a large cardboard box I had stored some bed linen in. But not for the mouse! After excavating all the bedding I find the cause of the sounds and bitten bedding. The mouse was trapped at the bottom of this deep box .  We decided to lure it with food and straw in a box but that was the last thing it wanted was to take a rest, go into the little box and then we would have humanely released it back to the wood pile. It jumped high, somersaulted and then bit the bottom of the box ferociously. We need a net but I find a bit of cardboard for a ladder out.  It falls into the box and with a quick action I get a lid on it. We release it into the rock garden where it bounds off. Well, was it a lucky mouse……. Two days later I open the front door to an amazing view of a weasel poised on the rock. I can see its back very clearly and for a while it doesn’t move. As it turns its head I can see a wood mouse in its mouth. Whether it was the same one we shall never know. The weasel turned, looked at me and then slunk off.  We probably don’t need to find a cat! Maybe this was the same weasel I saw some time ago. They can live for a few years and we have plenty of wood mice.

Wood mouse trapped in gigantic cardboard box
Wood mouse trapped in gigantic cardboard box
Woody Wood Mouse
Woody Wood Mouse
Churchyard beetle
Churchyard beetle keeping me awake at night!

If you ever have the fortune to come and stay with us do not be surprised to be woken at night by strange creatures.

I told a previous tale of the bat on my birthday when our friends came to stay and were woken by the bat.

It is also not really advisable to keep windows wide open even if very hot. Bat wings are actually quite noisy as I found out myself one sleepless night. Mice scrabbling has been dealt with too and we try a row of bricks by the door and have been given a humane trap. But the noisiest for its size has been the churchyard beetle. Now to wake me fine but not another friend in the brand new bedroom. There was a scream when the culprit showed itself.

Ladder back snake crushed by car wheel?
Ladder back snake crushed by car

A sad tale was when we discovered the crushed and quite dead ladder snake. It had probably been our friend’s car when leaving. These are the friends who have suffered bat visitations and the beast on the roof that turns tiles over. The noisy night criminal is quick to get away and has as yet not revealed its identity. Even though it was me who had gone out in the dead of night with torch it slipped away. This was just as well as it sounded so loud on the roof.  possibly a beech marten, genet or that darned fox. We did come across a  drowned beech marten once. Someone had stolen the top of a water butt and this creature was inside. Hopefully it is another member of that family banging on our roof.

However, the demise of the ladder snake gave a good banquet to these large ants. I had put this beautiful but dead creature on a rock. The next day the ants were carrying off the skeleton with excellent team work skills.

Snake being cleaned up by ants!
Snake being cleaned up by ants!

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As for the bird life a baby swift is saved from the feral cats of the village. There is a centre just out of Seville which monitors swifts and helps in recuperation. There have been declining numbers of swifts, swallows and house martins and hopefully every little helps.

Watching these swallows swooping down the valley or the great hordes of swifts in one village and the house martins in Cabanas might make me think there is no problem but much more needs to be done to ensure survival of these migratory birds.

Red rump swallow recovering from being stunned and ready to fly off.
Red rump swallow recovering from being stunned and ready to fly off.
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14 thoughts on “Animal encounters of the not so good kind. The cycle of Life.”

  1. I too save the critters when they are where they are trapped. I have let many outside when they got inside. Lately, I have been reading about the use of huge architectural windows and bird collision. It is sad so much of what we create either causes death to wildlife or entices them to make their homes. They are almost always on the losing end. Cats, well they are doing what they were designed to do. Being feral is a problem to which humans contributed. Birds are again on the losing end. I guess rodents too, but not many mourn the rodents.

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    1. No they don’t and possibly the beetles too but all have a place. We need to be so much more aware of how and where we build. Thanks for reading and I’m going to add a post on wildish places in London soon.

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  2. I was very sorry to read of the precarious lives of your creatures, though I have to admit I am not keen on bats in the bedroom (this happened to me once in Northumberland). I often rail against thoughtless building development, but had not really considered the windows. So thanks for drawing it to my attention.

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  3. I don’t remember this post before. I had an experience with a bat flying round our heads in the night while staying with a friend in the Australian outback. I was more petrified at the thought of the spiders in the dark than the bat. It was just making so much noise it woke me up. Hope you are both good!! Cheers Opher

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    1. We are well and in Portugal and had a very close encounter with a chameleon today and then saw another, in a nature reserve . Will post on it but find your Anthropocene very moving.More later as need to leave wifi bar now….

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    1. It is peaceful really unless the wild boar come at night to dig up your garden! And no wolves to keep their numbers down but there were possibly some still in the 1950s. Now wolves are only in some parts of the north of Spain. The Iberian wolf, slightly smaller. And we had a scorpion last night!

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    1. We had a great tit tapping one of the windows regularly the year before but not this year. The poor swallow just flew into a rather hidden window! Love your posts on all the flowers recently but still not on wifi for long here in Spain.

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