Our Ginger didn't squawk at the bedroom door to be let in this morning, and as I showered and got dressed I hoped this didn't mean he had been taken ill in the night. I came downstairs to discover a blizzard of feathers, Mr Fidget and Mr Fluffy looking fey, and Our Ginger sitting disapprovingly on the far side of the field of feathers and apparently unwilling to cross it. He has never been a one for birds.
Besides the feathers there were two wings, larger than a song bird but smaller than a pigeon, and one red leg. I am not much of an ornithologist and I didn't have much of the bird left to go on, but I think it was a red legged partridge. The wings were brown with a reddish tinge, and some of the feathers were striped, which would fit with it being a partridge, and of course there was the leg. I don't know what they did with the other leg, and whether they ate it or if we will eventually find the mummified remains under the furniture. Partridges are pretty common around here, they do come into the garden, and they spend a lot of time on the ground. With any luck the others will take note of the cats and learn to be more cautious. Poor partridge. Fortunately the cats don't often take birds.
I am more hard-hearted when it comes to rodents. The violets, the Muscari, and small Scilla and other little spring flowers in the back garden are flowering so much better this year than last that it brings it home how damaging it really is if you have rabbits living in the garden. The new shoots of clematis are emerging uneaten. It is altogether better and more hopeful under the reign of the young cats. Mr Cool excelled himself yesterday evening when I opened the door of the kitchen cupboard where I keep the cat biscuits and thought I saw a tail twitch out of sight. It was so quick, I wasn't sure if I'd seen it or not. I told the Systems Administrator I thought there was a mouse in the cupboard and opened the door again. There was a mouse, and as I leaped back in surprise Mr Cool leaped forward, and in a single movement grabbed it, and departed triumphantly through the cat door with it clamped in his jaws. Poetry in motion, that is Mr Cool. It is true that the mouse would not have been in the kitchen in the first place if a cat had not left it there. Mr Cool now looks at the door of the food cupboard with renewed interest, regarding it, as the Systems Administrator said, as a live buffet.
Actually the partridges have not learned anything now I think of it, because as I came in for my lunch I caught up with Mr Cool slinking at great speed across the terrace, belly only inches from the ground. He was clearly intent on creeping up on something, and as we both went round the corner of the house a pair of partridges rose from the gravel by the front door. They eat seeds and roots, according to the RSPB website, and why they should be hanging around outside the front door I do not know. I don't throw grain down for the chickens there or anything. The hens are still not allowed out of their run, but you should never encourage your poultry to hang around your doorstep, or you will be treading through a mess of droppings every time you go in or out.