The visitors list includes myself, the thieves who broke into my shed and stole my fork, spade and rake (to be no doubt sold for a pittance at a car boot sale), then there are the more welcome kind, birds like Robins, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Goldfinch and the occasional Greenfinch all pop in. And the big fat Wood Pigeon who sits in the tree and as soon as my back is turned flies down to see what I’ve planted and what is on today’s menu.
Also on the visitor list are the bees that I watch buzzing about their business. Come summer I’ll hear crickets in the long grass and hover flies helpfully pollinating. There are signs of visiting Badgers (they have a penchant for sweetcorn) and Foxes, Mice and Rats no doubt hide away up here, the occasional surprised Frog, and a few local cats who like nothing better to prowl and pounce around in the long grass or to doze in the sun on a shed roof.
The residents side of the equation includes some special native species - Slow Worms and Newts. I’ve been looking for them this last few days knowing that as it is warming up they will emerge from their winter hiding places. On the day I discovered the theft I saw my first Slow Worms of the year, a welcome sight and resident – they are fond of snacking on slugs and snails, a true gardener’s friend!
They inhabit the long grass and love nothing better than to hide under rocks or, as in the case of my allotment, under the tarpaulin that covers my manure heap. Nice and warm and cozy. I disturbed a couple of them the other day, I’ve come across nests of them in previous years.
So plenty of reasons to be cheerful – I have a Britsih protected species living on my plot (I haven’t seen the newts yet this year), they help control the slug and snail population, and occasionally I get to see and snap one.
All I have to do now is find replacements for my tools – do you know how hard that is turning out to be? It seems I am fussy about my tools, particularly my fork, it has to be the right weight, size, and most of all feel right in my hands. The search is on, and when I do find a replacement I’ll be etching and writing my details clearly onto them, and then finding a sneaky hiding place for them. And no I’m not about to divulge that on my blog :)
If you want to read more about Slow Worms then the article in Wikipedia is a great starting point, they are fascinating creatures.