Wildlife Around Melbecks

Last May we were fortunate enough to have a wildlife photographer stay with us here are Melbecks. Not only did he take some great photographs from his cottage window but also managed to get some photographs of badgers as they emerged from there sett in the nearby woods.

Squirrels In Action

The Red Squirrels are a great attraction at Melbecks and we have an active population. They tend to come looking for food in the early morning or late afternoon, and seem to know when a fresh supply of nuts has been placed outside for them.

Red squirrel with a hazelnut on the lawn at Melbecks Holiday Cottages, Lake District
Red Squirrel with a hazelnut on the lawn at Melbecks
A leaping red squirrel after it has dislodged a bird feeder filled with peanuts on the lawn in front of our lake district cottages at melbecks
Red Squirrel in action after it has dislodged a bird feeder filled with peanuts

Crows

Crows are ever present at Melbecks. Although they don’t roost with us, they are often seem around the chicken pen on the lookout for tit-bits and spilt food.

A crow on the lawn taking peanuts from a dislodged bird feeder.

Lollipop Bird or Long Tailed Tit

The Long-Tailed Tit or Lollipop Bird is a frequent visitor to the garden. Here a young bird in its distinctive bottled shaped nest hidden in a gorse bush is being fed.

A long-tailed tit feed its young as they emerge from their bottle shaped nest hidden in a gorse bush.
Hidden in a gorse bush, a long-tailed tit feeds its young

Badgers

These nocturnal creatures are very shy and not usually out in the day time. Here we see a youngster tentatively emerging from its sett

A young badger emerges from its sett hidden in the gorse and looks round.
A young Badger emerges from its sett
A dirty headed badger coming out of its sett at dusk.

New Arrivals At Melbecks Cottages

At Melbecks Holiday Cottages, Bassenthwaite we like to provide eggs to our holiday guests from our own free-ranging hens. Up until now, we have had two varieties of hens, White Star Leghorns and Warrens. The White Star Leghorns are prolific layers of large white eggs. However, they tend to be a little bit flighty compared to the Warrens.

White Star Leghorns At Melbecks

White Star Leghorns At Melbecks

The Warrens, on the other hand, are a friendly, tame chicken that happily eats from your hand and lay a small brown egg. Unfortunately, a couple of the Warrens have gone off lay and so we looked around for some replacement chickens. That’s when we found the TuftiBEL ® chicken at a nearby farm.

A Warren Chicken At Melbecks Holiday Cottages

A Warren Chicken At Melbecks Holiday Cottages

The TuftiBEL is a hybrid chicken bred by the friendly people at Poultry Matters. The name is derived from the tufty feathers on the crown and the blue/blue-green eggs that they lay – Blue Egg Layers (BEL).

TuftiBEL At Melbecks Cottages

TuftiBEL At Melbecks Cottages

To supplement our existing flock of chickens, we bought four point-of-lay TuftiBEL’s, which were about 16 weeks old and were expected to begin laying at 18 weeks.

Tuftibel At Our Holiday Cottages

Tuftibel At Our Holiday Cottages

The TuftiBEL chicken has a game-bird like appearance, with a speckled feather pattern. Each of the four chickens is quite differently marked – useless when identifying them. The chickens are quite timid and we will have to spend time with them as they settle in and become familiar with their surroundings. We eagerly await our first blue egg!

A TuftiBEL in the garden at Melbecks Holiday Cottages

A TuftiBEL in the garden at Melbecks Holiday Cottages

A Lighter Coloured TuftiBEL

A Lighter Coloured TuftiBEL

TuftiBEL's Exploring The Chicken Run At Melbecks Cottages

TuftiBEL’s Exploring The Chicken Run At Melbecks Cottages