As the days got colder I noticed visitors in my owl shed, ladybirds were gathering to hibernate – how cute I thought!!
They even looked like they were having a party with a spider and woodlouse, or chuggypig as my brother calls them.
I was thrilled – until a friend who has an allotment in the next field pointed out that they are Harlequin Ladybirds, Harmonia axyridis, and are a danger to our native ladybird and should be destroyed 😦 I have seen ladybird farm kits for sale and previously thought it was silly to keep pollinating insects captive, but now I see this as the perfect solution to these alien invaders and I am sure my nieces will enjoy looking after them.
My other aliens are, of course, my birds. Not Whisper the barn owl as she is native to the UK – she actually came to me from Somerset. However my other birds, while born and bred in the UK for many many generations do originate from other countries. Peanut the burrowing owl is native to America – found in many states and doing very well over there, almost a pest to some people when they dig up their gardens.
BB King the Eurasian Eagle owl came to me from a back garden near Plymouth. The species used to be native here until about 400 years ago, and many are still found in the wild across Europe. Victor the Spotted Eagle owl actually originates from Africa – although he also came to me from Somerset where he was bred. In Africa these owls are a favourite pet with children due to their quiet and calm nature – Victor all over!
Chaya the Harris hawk also came to me from near the Tamar in Liskeard; but her species originates from South America where they are often seen perching on high cacti as lookout perches while hunting for wild jackrabbits. I think in this cold weather Chaya would certainly prefer the desert heat – and I may join her!
Roll on Spring!