Last year we had a pheasant which tried to nest under the arbor, but didn't like the constant coming and going so moved on....... But this year a different location was found under the wire mesh that holds up a clematis along from the door of the outhouse... she has got used to our passing with washing and has been sitting there for a couple of weeks. At first she left the eggs for short periods to get a meal, so we placed a bowl of hen corn near her so she didn't have to go far and she has settled down to our routine without any problems..... even the mice which live in the wall next to her have benefited from the feast and now look at us when we replenish the bowl.
Last night Nigel called me over, he was wispering...... there were 2 chicks sitting at her side, tiny little mottled brown and yellow poppets. We retreated to the kitchen and left her alone for the night so that she could have some peace and quiet for the hatching.
This morning, after feeding the lambs, with Nanny McHawkins and friend Pat, who is in training for when we go away, I returned to find mum was missing! The nest was filled with empty shells, all 18 chicks had hatched and were now scattered on the path below the raised bed where the nest was located. They had managed to hide behind all the pots and paraphernalia, and they were all cheeping at the top of their little voices. I went back into the kitchen to watch if mum came back.... and no sooner had I closed the door when Mrs "P" popped her head up out of the flower boarder....... Nigel had come home, so we went back to pick all the chicks up and give them back to their mum who was now sitting, crouched in the sunshine, waiting to be joined by her brood... she hissed like a viper and fanned her tail but didn't move from her position. We gathered them all up, making sure no one was missing, then left them alone....
This is the result...... everyone where they should be and all accounted for!