By looking at online photos of birds and birds' eggs, I also confirmed that a spotted flycatcher has hatched a brood of chicks in a tree hollow in our orchard.
It's at eye level so I can peek inside when the mother is out, presumably looking for flies to catch. Two of the three eggs hatched a few days ago-
The chicks are only the size of my thumbnail,
This apple tree happens to be one of the trees that holds up my washing line -
While the flycatcher family has been in residence, I've been drying our laundry in the dryer or on an airer in the sun room, to keep from disturbing mother flycatcher.
The wood stove door remains open too. We still have at least a bird a day coming down the chimney, both fledglings and adults. It's school holidays so maybe the sparrows - it's always sparrows - treat it as a fun slide. Their activities are dislodging lots of creosote build-up in the flue. At this rate, they will have swept my chimney clean by winter.
The farm animals, on the other hand, are testing my patience. I split the ram lambs from the ewes and ewe lambs now. I only hope it was soon enough and there are no surprise babies in the dead of winter. (I'm already 1-nil with goats and surprise babies.). I normally castrate the male lambs at birth and, as I watched a youngster sniff and court an old ewe, I tried hard to remember why I decided not to cut them this year. Something about growing faster, less fat I think. An experiment.
So what happens when you separate pubescent ram lambs from their mothers, and put them in a field on their own, unsupervised by sensible old ewes? Imagine a playground full of 13 year olds with no adults around. Oh, and add a weak fence to that scenario, and "cool stuff" the other side.
Every damn morning those boys are the wrong side, in the neighbours' field, hanging out with horses (aka the bigger boys). The neighbours are great about it, and say there is plenty of grass to go around. I'm horrified and drive the delinquents back to their own paddock with my crook and some harsh words. You can see for yourself how many ways I've patched the fence -
Hurdles, cable ties, baling twine, logs, and an old hay rack wired into the fence. And while I'm patching the day's new hole and cursing like a drunk sailor, this is what I see -
They are just waiting for me to leave so they can start testing the fence for the weak spots, and push back through to the neighbours and the horses. Delinquents and recidivists.
I'm moving them tonight to a field with a good fence. I will get in touch with the estate as they are responsible for fencing, and ask them to renew the boundary fence. The new field also has really good grass, so these boys can fatten up and go off to market. Ram lambs are too vexing with their testicles left on!
Pumpkin the wether (front) and horned ram lamb born January, to stay as my breeding tup.
Both are good sensible boys.