Kim thought she heard an unexplained bump in the garden one evening, but whatever the reason, it was a surprise to find the rear half a full grown salmon in the studio bed last week. I wonder if an owl had dropped its prey originally. The nearest river – one of England’s best game waters – is some three miles hence so most likely to be the source. At this time of year exhausted adult fish, having spawned at the headwaters, drift back on the current to die so a predator, animal or bird, could have found easy prey here. We will never know for sure. The tail end carcass remained for a few more days, to my surprise, as I thought our regular predators like fox or crow would see to it. Eventually I disposed of the rotting remains, adding it to the growing heap of a bonfire in the field. Another corpse materialised a little later in the elegant form of a field mouse, drowned in a bucket of water, the long rear legs still elegant in death. Meanwhile, two very live frog companions – one full size, one small – can be discovered in their usual hiding place under a ledge of stone at the pond edge. Their rival co-habitees, the palmate newt population, seem to have mostly evacuated the soon to be frozen water in order to spend the winter safely under the stacks of logs or among dense leaved plants we’ve planted between water and fence.

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