A few weeks ago we had some unusual visitors at Lou Messugo. That in itself is not so strange, we’ve had a fair few unusual visitors over the years, both of the human kind and beast. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know we’ve had plenty of visits by wild boars and we’ve even had a deer in the garden. Then there are the toads, frogs, lizards and geckos, not to mention the occasional snake, red squirrels and lots of foxes. We get fireflies, bats and cicadas in summer and there are always plenty of birds in spring including woodpeckers and jays. I probably shouldn’t go into detail about the strange human guests we’ve hosted here in the gite as they can read….but I might just give you a little taster further on in this post. But getting back to the wildlife at Lou Messugo, this was yet another first for us: Mr and Mrs Mallard came to visit.
They arrived one morning as I was clearing away the breakfast mess. There was a commotion in the lavender bushes and out walked a handsome male mallard duck, shortly followed by his rather less flashy female friend. They had a good nosey around the garden and didn’t seem too put out when I approached them for photos.
Before long they’d found the pool and dived in. I suppose you can’t blame them for thinking it was a pond, it was green and rather natural-looking – we hadn’t yet prepared it for the summer season!
Over the next few days they flew in for a swim regularly and I soon discovered they were also taking advantage of our neighbour’s green pool. But it turned out they didn’t seem to mind what colour the water was as I saw them on another neighbour’s blue pool a few times.
Finally Madame Colvert chose our immediate neighbour’s garden to make a nest and lay some eggs.
While she sat on them, Monsieur often popped over for a swim with us. By this time we’d cleaned up the pool ready for human use and it no longer looked like a pond. Finding duck poo on the tiles wasn’t particularly nice but it only happened once.
I’d been holding off writing about our almost tame ducks as I’d hoped for a happy ending involving ducklings. The neighbours even built a proper pond for them, but this morning I got a text saying the nest was empty, no sign of Madame or eggs. Knowing how many foxes there are here – we see them often when coming home at night – we have to assume she was eaten by one and actually I guess it’s quite amazing she lasted as long as she did.
Sad story, no ducklings, that’s nature! However, so as not to end on a downer, I promised some tidbits about some of our stranger guests. Over the years we’ve had one who brushed his long beard in the garden and then burnt the loose hairs in the barbecue every morning, and a couple who shut the shutters and stayed inside all week without going out once (we got to the stage where we wondered if it was a suicide pact). We also had a family who left a metre wide red stain on the ceiling which we just couldn’t work out. There have been many more, but telling would be indiscrete!
Do you have any wild animals in your garden? I’d love to hear.
If you enjoyed this you might like these other posts on wildlife at Lou Messugo:
Wildlife at Lou Messugo, what a bore!
Hunting wild boar and the pigs’ revenge
Oh dear, more wildlife at Lou Messugo!
Here’s a PIN for later!
Pauvre Mme Colvert 🙁 Our friend lost both her geese and all their eggs to a local fox but as you say – that is nature and it’s why we put our domesticated birds to bed at night … well except the chicken I found outside this morning when I went to let the others out … and she had chosen a wet night to stay out and was looking very cross and very bedraggled. But alive! Ah yes – duck poo – that is the reason our ducks are no longer free range as they loved sitting in the gite garden and on the trampoline! No ducklings here either this year – Hilda didn’t lay any eggs and Hetty and Harriet are such awful Mothers I don’t let them sit and instead get to enjoy duck eggs for breakfast! Nice to see you back on #AnimalTales, merci.
I like your ending Susie. The guinea fowl story is so funny, that must have been a big surprise! I’ve read your book and loved it, nodded along in complete understanding through most of it.
Thanks! I hope that theory’s right too.
Interesting to hear that your friend gets ducks on her pool, it’s the first time in 9 years of having a pool that it’s happened to us.
How adorable to watch the neighbour’s baby bunny, they really are too cute!
I was surprised by the chlorine too. Obviously when the pool was very green there wasn’t any in it but they carried on visiting after we cleaned it up and put chlorine in. They didn’t seem to mind at all.
No idea! It was such a mystery. If we hadn’t counted the whole family out I would have said it was the result of a horrible murder!!!
You’re so cruel Susan!!!
I hope you’re right Richard, but no one has seen any sign of them at all and as you know there are no ponds around here to go to….still I’d like to think your theory is correct.
Nature red in tooth and claw I’m afraid.
They seem to be loving the pool, I am surprised they coped with the chlorine. A lot of the stray cats here paddle their feet in the pool water and sometimes drink it and I am always worried for them. What a shame about the ducklings but that happens.
Lucky ducks to have found several pools in the spring. But not so lucky if they got caught by a fox. I posted a near encounter with wildlife last week as I was hiking alone. But on a brighter note, the next door neighbor has a baby bunny who is gladly eating his clover. I watch him over the fence and try to bring my cats inside when he is foraging. Here’s the link for Adventures in the Woods
bless the mallards in the pool, they look quite at home. Now tell me a red stain on the ceiling, did you ever find out how it was caused?
Hopefully mother duck managed to take the ducklings to a safer place. I have a friend who lives close to a river and has a pool, and she gets lots of ducks swimming in there all the time.
Oh I hope the relocation theory is right, very cute having ducks in your pool! Good luck with the strange human guests this summer…
Mum duck (not usually Dad drake in our experience) always takes the entire brood away as soon as they have hatched – sometimes several hundred yards, and not always at first to water. The empty eggshells disappear very quickly, polished off by other birds (eg crows etc), mice and ants. So your brood may have survived after all, and were not necessarily gobbled up by a fox.
We don’t need any wild animals, we have five children instead!!! Seriously though, we have a resident hedgehog. So sorry about the ducks, nature can be very cruel.
I am writing my personal ending to the story, which is that the ducklings hatched, and Mr Mallard immediately relocated the family elsewhere, somewhere with dogs who keep foxes at bay. 🙂
We too have a great variety of wildlife visiting both the garden and the house. Probably the oddest visitor ever was the guinea fowl I found sleeping peacefully in the hall between our two dogs! Our latest guest was a young hedgehog that trundled very determinedly around the garden and over my foot, and then made its way into the hay barn and vanished through a narrow gap between two bales of straw.
As for gite guests – they come in all guises, don’t they? I could write a book about ours – oh, that’s right, I already did. 🙂