Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Birds, Beasts and Southeast London

Caught in the act
I've really been enjoying ITV's The Durrells, an adaptation of Gerald Durrell's books set on Corfu, including My Family and Other Animals, and Birds, Beasts and Relatives, which I read when much younger. It's very well done, with the excellent Keeley Hawes playing the put-upon Mrs. Durrell, and beautifully filmed on Corfu. (What's more, we're going there this summer -- and I'd already booked our holiday before I knew about the series, so I'm feeling rather smug.)

Anyway, we have been experiencing our own birds and beasts here in Crystal Palace. Honestly, you wouldn't think a Southeast London suburban home, close enough to central London that you can see the Shard from up the road, would be a haven for wildlife. But since we moved here we have had the following animal experiences:

1. Pigeons in our attic. They'd even made nests up there and laid eggs. When we eventually realised, we had to get our roof fixed, which involved lots of scaffolding (it's a tall house) and expensive builders. It also led us to change our water tank system, as the previous system was an open tank in the attic into which pigeon skeletons may well have fallen.

2.  Foxes eating the boys' football goal. The phrase "back of the net" doesn't apply to this goal (Littleboy 1's birthday present last year) any more. Because the back of the net has been chewed away. I wondered at first if some unfortunate animal had got tied up in the netting, and that's why it had been destroyed. Maybe a cat had got its claws caught. But this morning I caught one of our many resident foxes in the act - jaws in the net, looking balefully up at me in defiance as I shooed it away. I'm quite fond of foxes (although they also keep us awake with their shagging noises) but honestly, this is Not On.

3. A ladybird infestation. Seriously, there are hundreds in our house. I don't quite know what to do about it  - they're rather pretty, and not really pests, but we do wonder if they bite (a few of us have had mysterious insect bites). Any advice?

4. Slugs in the hallway. How do they get in? How?

5. Pigeon in the bathroom. Unable to get in the attic any more through their holes, the pigeons have now taken up residence on the bathroom window sill, which is now covered in bird poo and feathers. During the hot weather this weekend, the bathroom window was left open -- and a bird flew in and shat all over the shower.

Any more for any more? I'm thinking of setting up a small zoo.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quite the collection of wildlife. Something about your home and property must be very appealing? Solving this question might be the resolution. In my town we have an official with the title, "animal control." This individual is available to assist in solving animal problems. Do you have such a person?

My one experience with said individual was a when I noticed a raccoon in my side garden. These animals are nocturnal, seeing them in the daytime often indicates they are rabid. Animal Control came out. My young son was very excited. Animal Control brought a shotgun and my son got even more excited. Animal Control told us to leave the property. Little did I know they were going to shoot the animal! I thought they'd trap it, test it and release it if it was healthy. No luck. They tested the deceased animal and he was healthy. I felt very bad for the little guy.
Susan

ADDY said...

It always amazes my country relatives or friends when they come to stay with me in London that I have foxes and parakeets in my garden. Not sure how to cure the ladybird situation, though.

Muddling Along said...

Think the ladybirds will die out soon (we have similar and they only seem to be around for a few weeks)

We have exchanged the scurrying sounds of small creatures inside the house for 'gifts' from the cats of the corpses of various small creatures (today they broke with tradition and brought us a bird...)

My favourite is that we have a proper hooting owl

Expat mum said...

Quite funny, when I wrote about British bathrooms several years ago, I warned visiting Americans not to automatically assume that the bathroom tap contained drinkable water. I remember the house I grew up in had the same kind of tank in the loft and we were told, on pain of death (possibly literally) not to drink from those taps. There was a barrage of protest that I was 100% wrong. I had to get my mother to phone her local water company to verify that in some cases, I was most certainly correct.

Clare Taylor said...

With you on the bathroom water. My OH tells me that in the Netherlands (where he grew up) such barbarity was unheard of - but you know, I have my doubts. And here, in a lovely old house in a lovely old city, I have to admit that the bathroom water supply - and the fact it might be open to pests - has been playing on my mind...

About Last Weekend said...

Oh my gosh, Gerald Durrell, adored his books when I was a kid and just wanted to be part of their family. Your backyard looks beautiful. I hear there are all sorts of creatures coming in close like foxes.
Here, people are seeing cougars when they go to soccer fields!!!!

Tanya said...

The slugs! We had this at our old house...I think they got in through a crack in the wall via an air brick but they follow their own trail and I'd wake up in the morning to find slug slime along one of our kitchen walls. I'm pretty sure we doused salt behind our skirting (which had a slight gap) and eventually it resolved itself - they come out at night so we managed to catch a couple that way too...

Hear hear to wildlife outdoors! x

Nota Bene said...

You may have our woodpecker. He's beautiful, but seems a little confused and keeps eating the lawn and digging holes in it! Our five fox cubs now seem to have left home, as it was an absolute joy to see them play on the lawn; the gardener was less than happy at the damage they were doing to the flower beds...
...I wasn't quite so keen on the ITV version of My Family, it was a little harsher and lacking the humour of the BBC series from some years ago...that may just me being a grumpy old man...

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