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A New Ally In My Fight With the Rabbits.

It is entirely possible that the fox which I thought was visiting the allotments has been shot by a not so friendly farmer as the number of rabbit droppings are building up round my plot again, but I have a new ally in my seemingly eternal fight. On arriving at the site a few days ago I saw a very large bird take off from the ground at the far end of the empty plots and fly into the trees close by that are over looking the whole site. Then, there followed an awful noise that could only be described as being like that of a small animal in pain. My immediate thought was that the bird was a predator and had taken a rabbit. After getting home I looked it up in a large bird book and not being a bird enthusiast myself and therefore not really knowing how to identify a bird, the best I could come up with was that it was a Buzzard. According to the book they do make quite a noise, so perhaps it was not actually devouring one of my troublesome bunnies, but was warning me that I was in itís territory. To me that is even better news as the bird may have set up permanent residence on the allotments!
I do hope that the bird has set up a nest and is rearing young, although it does seem a bit late in the year for that. A large female Buzzard with a couple of hungry youngsters to feed would certainly take care of a few rabbits!

Another plot holder told me a tale that some Buzzards had been released at Hixon Airfield a little while ago, presumably to control the pigeon problems now that we have an Air Ambulance based there. As the Crow flies, or Buzzard, the airfield can only be a few hundred yards away from the allotments, so it may be true. Also of course it may be more than just coincidence that the Amerton Wildlife Rescue Centre is only on the other side of the road from the allotments.

A couple of weeks ago I planted some young Curly Kale plants under a heavy net that was securely weighed down all round the edges with large stones, but the rabbits answer was simply to chew through the net and then nibble all of my tasty young seedlings underneath. On the good news side though, I have just realised that another plant, or family of plants that rabbits donít seem to be too fond of are the Squash, Pumpkin and Courgette Family. A couple of plots have had plants growing for weeks now that have been left alone and which are flowering quite nicely. Also I am pleased to report that the new plot holder, who planted a dozen young Rhubarb seedlings, must now be delighted to see them all shooting again with bigger, thicker, leaves that for the moment are growing un touched. Hopefully, Mrs Buzzard will stop them from getting eaten again if she really has made the site her home!

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