Sipping a cup of tea the other day looking out over Swillbrook Lake I spotted a stoat on the path opposite. I looked again and there were two of them, then suddenly a whole family of stoats appeared, the little ones running and jumping and chasing each other. Minutes passed. It was mesmerising. Belatedly I thought ‘camera’ and rushed downstairs to fetch it. Back upstairs again – the stoats were still playing, blissfully unaware of being watched, darting in and out of the bushes at break-neck speed. This went on for a full 10 or 15 minutes, plenty of time for lots of (ok, rather grainy) photos and video clips, two of which can be found on the guest login on the computer at Nightingale House.
Watching from our balcony we’ve seen foxes and deer as well as the stoats and, of course, lots of rabbits and squirrels. We see and hear a variety of birds too; including nightingales whose favoured nesting spot over several years has been in the trees along the path. As well as countless families of ducks, swans, great crested grebes and coots, a heron is a frequent visitor to the lake and we have our spottiscope fixed on a large felled tree on the opposite side of the lake where he likes to sit.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the house is Flagham Fen where beavers were introduced a few years ago. If you sit in the hide (see Bird Hide Flagham Fen on our map) around dusk you might be lucky enough to see them. A few days ago beavers were spotted felling a large tree. (see picture on facebook)