The virgin Virgil

Bird life other than barn owls is however in a very healthy state. I have great, coal, and blue tits in numbers, robins, dunnocks, house sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes and each day now two herons, frogging in the pond. A neighbour saw a goldcrest, but sadly it did not make its way up here. I worry over the frogs, but it is plainly a bad time of year for herons.

I would love to have ducks, and last year I was visited by a flight of my favourite of all ducks, Muscovies. They sat on my gates and talked to me. I was so tempted – but ducks eat frogs. Muscovies would soon clear my pond of all amphibians. Despite their intelligence (Muscovies are at the top end of farmyard avian intelligence, just as guinea fowl are at the bottom) I cannot permit all my frogs an toads to be annihilated.

I am however going to try my luck with the geese again. Horatia and Virgil have never manage to have any babies, and I suspect they have never mated. I don’t know for certain that Virgil is male so I am buying in a young gander and two geese. If Virgil is in fact a goose and not a gander, the gander will have four wives, not an impossible thing and if Virgil is male, but not able to bring himself to mate, the new geese will in time provide fertile eggs for Horatia to sit on. I am eagerly anticipating the delightful task of finding suitable Roman names for the new trio – preferably from among the ranks of writers and not the warlike or statesmen.

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