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.