|Long eared owl|
Our orchard has always been one of the most magical parts of our life in France. From the very first time I saw it, with the waist high grass trying to hide it’s treasures, to today, eleven and a half years later, I love it and the bounties it gives. The beauty of the blossom on the fruit trees, the harvests of cherries, plums, pears, apples, peaches, quince, hazelnuts and walnuts, the sturdy low branches Ed has enjoyed climbing and also the surprises it keeps on giving us.
I have been keeping ducks since 2005 and the reason I do is because of a surprise from the orchard; a lone male Muscovy duck who arrived in January 2005 and stayed, so we went to market and bought him some lady ducks, as you do in rural France. Once we had ducks, getting chickens seemed a logical thing to do and surprisingly Yum Yum, our first duck, wasn’t the only one to just turn up, Choccie, a brown Muscovy female joined our gang in November 2006. Brucie our goose was another orchard surprise, found as a fluffy yellow gosling, crying and scared one Sunday morning. Questioning our neighbours revealed they had seen an unknown bearded man enter through our locked gate and place the gosling in the orchard. This was in May 2009 but Brucie is still with us, laying large and delicious eggs, happy to live as an honoury duck and we still have no idea who left her or why. Such is life in a rural French village.
|Brucie the Goose and her first egg of 2016|
I thought the most unusual sight I’d seen in the orchard was the male Golden Pheasant who popped in one day to show off his magnificent plumage, but then the owls arrived.
Whilst weeding in
the potager last week I glimpsed the silent shadow of large wings overhead and
then noticed big bright eyes watching me from the bay tree. When Adrian arrived
home at the weekend I took him out to see for himself and prove I hadn’t dreamt
it. As I walked towards the bay tree, owl, after owl, after owl took flight above
our heads. It was an incredible experience and having never in my life seen a
long eared owl in the wild, I feel really privileged to have at least ten of
them now spending their days in our large bay tree.
|Long eared owl flying low over the orchard|
A friend reminded me yesterday that the correct term to use is a parliament of owls, which I think is suitably important sounding for such an unexpected spectacle in our orchard. I’d certainly rather discuss the owls than anything currently going on in world politics.
This post has been linked to the Lou Messugo All About France blog link. Click here to read more posts.