Monday, 29 November 2010

Nature Interlude

As you know, we had a really heavy snowfall here on Friday evening.  Completely unexpected for SW France at this time of year.  February yes.  November no.

Anyway, I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but we have what has got to be the oldest and tallest walnut tree in the area in our garden.  It's a wonderful tree and I'm very fond of it.  It's stunning in the Spring and Summer.

However, since the middle of August we have had a nest of Asian Hornets right at the very top of the tree.  Impossible to get at and not very nice, especially when you watch them decimating the bee colonies.

On Saturday after the snowfall we had a lovely surprise.  No more hornets.  Dead! 

The first we knew of it was when we looked up at the nest and it was covered in Great Tits munching away and trying to get into the nest.  Slowly, but surely they have pecked away and it is falling to bits.  The bottom fell out this morning.

It's the size of a small dinner plate.

If you look very closely at the next photo, you might just be able to see a Great Tit in the bottom left hand corner.

This shows the base of it - see the size of the hole!

The whole nest is about the size of 2 footballs and the shape of a rugby ball!

Unfortunately it seems that the queens might just still be alive waiting for the weather to warm up next Spring so they can zoom off and build a nest elsewhere.  Our neighbour has a friend who has a telescopic rifle.  He's coming round this week to try to shoot the nest down   We shall be standing at the base of the tree armed with hornet killer sprays!  That's if the birds don't get to the queens first!

On a nicer note, the last of the cranes have just flown over, heading south to warmer climes.

Now all we've got to do is wait until March to watch them fly back north to Holland.


Belinda said...

OH MY GOSH GIRL!!! I probable would NOT have gone outside if I had one of those hornets nests in one of my trees!!! I am soooo glad the snow and weather seems to have ZAPPED them!!! YIPPEE!

It has finally gotten cold here at night but no bad weather yet....still sun shining everyday.

Banaghaisge said...

And we have had FLOODS the last weekend. Until Thursday night Melbourne was 1.3mm over the average annual rainfall for the first time in 14 years. Imagine that - FOURTEEN YEARS of drought! Got flooded in on Sat night, and our road is washed to bits, like a bush track now!
Here are my pics on Facebook:

Those hornet thingies look very scary! Glad the snow and the tits got to them, xxxx

Magpie Sue said...

Happy feasting for the birds! I hope they do get the queens so you don't have to resort to more drastic methods.

How lovely to see the cranes. We have trumpeter swans who winter here. I so enjoy hearing them flying overhead, honking, as they commute to and from the fields where they feed during the day.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Wow--that is a fantastic nest...I can see why you want it shot down.

Great pictures of the majestic they look.