We’re moving to a new home in the Hamptons this week and one thing I will miss is the constant show put on by the wildlife in my garden. And in the field and small copse behind the fence. I was just sitting outside on my porch and watched two squirrels, two chipmunks, a turtle, a robin and a red winged blackbird having their lunch only a few feet away from me. Of course, I’m now living in a small town by the water – Sag Harbor in the Hamptons – and no longer in London. And we’re moving less than a mile away.
Theo and Luce were terribly excited this spring when a baby bunny took up residence in our garden.
After watching the Alvin and the Chipmunks films, my children were over the moon to see chipmunks in our garden. Slightly disappointed they didn’t all start singing in awful squeaky voices and I wouldn’t capture one to keep as a pet. There are two raccoons which live under the porch here in the Hamptons – and only sneak out at night. I’ve also seen a couple of times an Opossum, larger than an alley cat, slink around our Sag Harbor garden at night.
As we have so many wild birds in our back garden and in the copse behind, we have put out some birdfeeders.
My kids are getting brilliant at naming all the different ones such as this Red Cardinal (above) or Blue Jay (below).
Every time they glimpse a different bird they look it up in our bird book and make me read out its full name.
Clearly the pheasant who lives in the copse isn’t worried about being shot. We often see him ambling across the field behind our fence.
In London my kids became skilled at throwing pieces of bread at the ducks and geese in the pond in the local park. I’ve strictly forbidden them to feed the ducks which walk across our porch every morning. Why? I tried it once here and suddenly there were a couple of enormous seagulls swooping in to snatch the bread.
Last year on an English country walk in the woods, Theo, Luce and I had a close escape when two enormous deer came running through the trees and just missed us on the shady path. Here in the Hamptons we watch them at dusk every evening grazing in the field outside our garden.
This week a turtle joined the little haven of wild creatures congregating near our porch. We’re always trying to chase the squirrels away as they do incredible feats of acrobatics to get the seeds from the birdfeeders. Grey squirrels are as abundant here as in the UK. In fact grey squirrels were introduced from the US to Britain over a hundred years ago.
What I love about having wildlife in my garden is that my kids can see nature and its creatures in the open and not in a cage.