We have two bats. We've always had two bats in the four years that we've lived here. Well there was a brief period at the beginning when we thought we had only one, until we saw the two together.
Then late yesterday evening, while filling the watering can in the near-dark, against the still pale western sky I saw four bats playing above the wood store - two normal bat-sized bats and two small, with that slightly anxious fluttery motion like baby birds: "Look Mum, I can fly!" I think we have a bat family.
I walk towards the open garage and suddenly there's a loud cheep and a scuttling noise. A baby redstart peers at me from behind the spokes of the bicycle wheel next to the empty gas canister. His mother flutters and clucks at me from the top of the garage door that we now keep permanently open until her brood has flown. As we do with the doors into what one day will be our hallway, but at the moment is the nesting place for another redstart who has (at last count) four fledglings in there peering down at us from the rafters. This is the second lot that she's had in there. We really do need to manage our wildlife better.
Tod comes back from his early walk with Vita on the lead. He's seen three black kittens in the mown field next to ours. I watch anxiously as the mother hunts through the stubble - her jet black body visible for miles against the pale straw - she and her family a target for every buzzard and crow.
Then this evening, I see with some trepidation (the French can be brutal to feral cats) the young farmer's wife from the cottage two fields over walk down the valley to where they are playing. She kneels down and taking off her jacket gathers up the small black balls of fluff, cuddling them as she does so. Husband and friends arrive to help and they all walk slowly back home, mother cat running alongside. I think the kittens will be safe.
So Vita can walk off the lead again; just as long as we keep her away from the open garage and entrance hall for a few more days.