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There's no sign of Newts either. Today there's just a pond snail, grazing on algae on the pebbles.
I'm sorry to see a Wood Mouse (also known a Long-tailed Fieldmouse) huddled up, eyes closed, out in the open on the patio. An hour or two later it is dead. I saw another, dead, in the greenhouse the other day. A neighbour is controlling Brown Rats using poison bait. Although the bait is left in potential rat-runs, well out of reach of birds and pets, there is unfortunately no way of preventing the wood mice from reaching it.
Robert Burns (1759-1796) wrote his poem To a Mouse after 'turning her up in her nest with the plough, November 1785'. His words seem just as pertinent today;
'I'm truly sorry man's dominion
TowpathChickweed and Shepherd's Purse have been green, and with some hint of flowers, all through the winter on the canal bank, in a place where storm surges occasionally force raw sewage up out of the manhole covers. The rich disturbed soil suits these weeds of cultivation.
Shepherd's Purse gets its name from the heart-shaped seed-pods, each of which hold tiny coin-like seeds.
It's now light until well after five. I look forward to being able to get out on an evening again. Today, apart from a Song Thrush singing, there's little sign of wildlife during my few minutes' walk along the towpath, but I appreciate a brief glance of the water surface stirred into ripples by a breeze as the light fades.
Kessie is running around the meadow in her second-best horse blanket. The garment has been ripped by thorns or barbed wire and the down lining is hanging out, like an anorak turned to rags.