Don't panic! They're not visitors of the human kind.
Mrs Pheasant started visiting a couple of weeks ago and is becoming more and more bold as the days go by. Her presence has also encouraged two more females to venture across the ditch running between the field and the grass near the houses. They come to feed on the grain spilled from bird feeders.
Although the Pheasant is an unmistakable symbol of English country life it has not always been here. There is some debate about how and when they arrived here, but they were certainly common by the fifteenth century. As far as we know they have always been hunted for food.
The male Pheasant is a lot more wary, as he has every right to be with what amounts to a bright red "bullseye" decorating the side of his head. Males are extremely visible when you're walking in the countryside, whereas females can slip by undetected. Although there's a large population of these birds living wild in our countryside they are joined every year by birds bred in captivity and released for no other reason than to be shot at by people paying for the "pleasure".
This may be bad news for the Pheasants, but it's good for the other farmland birds. Research suggests that there are many more birds in areas where Pheasants are bred as the landscape which suits the Pheasants also suits other species - and I suspect they also eat a proportion of the feed put out for the gamebirds.
Near where I used to live in Grantchester there was a large estate which ran organised shoots. As soon as the first shots rang out there was a sudden influx of Pheasants on the meadows on the opposite side of the river, where they seemed to know they were safe. They are pretty safe here to, apart from....
This beautiful cat has dreams of dining on Pheasant but doesn't really seem to know how to go about it!
The little Muntjac deer does not often venture across the ditch, preferring to dine on the bramble leaves along the field-edge. They are not a native species here either and they are thought to have descended from a few that escaped from the Woburn Estate in Bedfordshire in 1925. From those few they have expanded their numbers and range, and now can be found over most of England. They can be quite destructive to native wildflowers and trees.
Whether they should be here or not, I enjoy their visits to the area just outside my porch window at this time.
Now if a pheasant had come in the garden when I was a kid my dad would have got the shot gun out and had it for dinner. They are safe with me because I got put off with Dad plucking and gutting them in the kitchen. Like you I'm happy to watch themReplyDelete
Pheasants have been released here for hunting, but they are nowhere near as abundant as they are in Britain. They certainly are a wonderful part of the avifauna of any area. They are hardy too, and survive our winters, although the winters have been quite benign in recent years.ReplyDelete
How lucky you are to see these creatures in real life. We do feed the foxes and get the occasional squirrel but we have to go up to the 'Devils' Dyke' to see more.ReplyDelete
Love that little deer's face.
We had shoots on the farm and reared pheasants specially. I always hated the whole idea and have never tasted pheasant = they are far too beautiful. The farmer would eat is occasionally if we were out somewhere but I didn't even approve of that really (and he knew it)ReplyDelete
What a cute little deer!and I love the thoughts from kitty cat ,such a Nice catReplyDelete
Beautiful birds as well!
You have a wildlife refuge outside your window. Thank you for sharing! Great photos!ReplyDelete
Beautiful birds, and cat and deer. Glad they are visiting your "neck of the woods."ReplyDelete
You have had wonderful visitors. When I have been in England on a train it is nice to watch for pheasants out in the fields.ReplyDelete
The pheasants are just so beautiful! You got some great shots of them. Where they were so abundant out at the strip pit area, we seldom see a single one.ReplyDelete
You do get to see the most delightful creatures there. They are all very beautiful and truly a pleasure to see.ReplyDelete
Pheasants are regular visitors here, I am amazed how fast they can run!ReplyDelete
Hi John - oh I do enjoy eating pheasant ... I try and have some in the Autumn: sorry! Stunning photos - lovely 'peasants' ... and pussy-cat, let alone the Muntjac deer ... just delightful - and such a pleasure to see your lands nearby ... cheers HilaryReplyDelete
Well done getting the Muntjac John.ReplyDelete
I just love your photos of the beautiful wildlife in your area. I don't have either of these two wonderful creatures in my area. You are so blessed. Be safe and have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.ReplyDelete
I've never seen a Muntjac before. Beautiful wildlife in your area, nice photos John.ReplyDelete
Take care and stay safe.
I think a pheasant would be a pretty big mouthful for Mr Cat! Make pheasants are beautiful birds.ReplyDelete
The pheasants are very colourful - even the female has many shades of brown and purple.ReplyDelete
Spending time in nature however we can is soothing and encouraging.
Wonderful photos. Your comment about the pheasants heading to the meadows when the first shots rang out reminded me of when we were living in the country further north and, just prior to shooting season, the ducks would land on protected lakes.ReplyDelete
Well, I became curious about your Muntjac so I looked it up. Though not native in present times, there are remains found in Miocene deposits in France, Germany and Poland. I know you're an island, but quite close to your neighbors! Beautiful photos, as always, John. Love to see your part of the world.ReplyDelete
At the time of the Miocene Britain was connected to Europe so Muntjac could easily have wandered across.Delete
Super photos, especially of the muntjac deer. The cat is so beautiful:)ReplyDelete
Your visitors are so pretty and certainly add to the beauty around you. That last critter is quite unique-looking. Thanks for sharing your visitors.ReplyDelete
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