• It seems that domestic cats have joined the gaming and computer age. Skittles a beloved house cat loves to play “Mouse Hunt (for cat’s only)” and will spend hours standing over an iPad waiting for a mouse to appear on the screen. He quickly puts his paw on the image and is quite sure he has finally trapped it – what a deception. However, one day his patience was rewarded when a large house fly, attracted by the light, landed on the screen and Skittles, having honed his skills, swatted the fly and kept his paw on it. When he gently lifted it, he found a very dead fly which he promptly ate.
• Has some mysterious creature been attacking the foliage of your tomato plants? This could well be tomato hornworms which represent the larval stage of the five-spotted hawk moth, sometimes known as the hummingbird moth. These caterpillars are green and can, within three to four weeks, grow to be four inches long, fat and heavy. They are not easy to spot because the moths tend to lay their eggs on the underside of leaves.
Picking the caterpillars off by hand is the most effective way to save your tomato crop and, should you have chickens nearby, this is a delicacy for them. Tilling the soil after an infestation is important as that is where they go to pupate to continue the life cycle. Tomato hornworms are also attracted to eggplants, peppers and potatoes.
• It is amazing to watch the tenacity of birds as they build nests, lay and hatch eggs and then take care of their demanding babies. The pleasure of listening to the song of birds can sometimes be diminished when it becomes so loud and prolonged that you look forward to evening when the babes are finally sated and asleep. A pair of wrens spent many days darting back and forth searching for food for their youngsters in a nesting box. The clamour of their offspring became louder and more insistent as they grew in size. It was very noticeable when they finally flew the nest and tranquillity was restored.