Dark nights and panicking turkeys!

Galloway Forest Park in Scotland has just been awarded the prestigious dark sky award by the International Dark Sky Association. Well, I reckon our sky deserves a medal too. Here in deepest, darkest Creuse, there is very little light pollution. Our night sky is pitch black and the stars are dazzling. You can see the milky way clearly. It’s beautiful. Night-time is made even more amazing by the hooting of owls, and occasionally the song of nightingales. There are mysterious rustles in the undergrowth and distant deer barks – a lot goes on at night at Les Fragnes.

November has turned beautiful this year. We have cold frosty nights with clear, sunny days. Long may it last! It’s the perfect weather for us to do some tidying up on the big lake. There were quite a few snags (fallen trees and branches) along one side of the promontory we call Ragondin Island. These provided good shelter for the carp, but there was the danger that hooked fish would run into the snags and get the line tangled around them. The angler would break his line and the carp could be left caught up, unable to free itself from the hook. So we’ve dropped the lake level by about a foot and set to work. Chris does the cutting with his chainsaw and I do the dragging out. It’s not the cleanest job in the world, but good exercise and very satisfying!

swanmusselWe made a discovery today. From time to time we’ve found large shells in the lake. We eventually identified them as swan mussel shells. Ruadhri loves making ornaments out of them – he had a good sales line going during the summer to llama trekkers! We know now that we have a large, healthy colony of them in the lake, up at the shallow end. We watched them today, zig-zagging through the mud, leaving wiggly trails behind them. Fascinating.

The turkeys are leading us a dance at the moment. They escape at least three times a day so we set off with a bucket of grain to coax them back home. I had help rounding them up this afternoon. Our neighbour Jan has a herd of Breton and Percheron heavy horses – truly gentle giants. They saw the turkeys in their field and came thundering up to have a look. Strange to say, suddenly the turkeys didn’t want to hang around! They sprinted back home at top speed.

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