The Coypu and The Bentonite

Picked up 30litres of bentonite cat litter this morning to plug up the other side of the coypu burrow.

The burrow is in the bank I am standing on and water drains through it towards Le Jaudy which is to my right.

Took off the top layer of turf and found this:

There is a kind of U bend and a tunnel nearer the top. Both are about 50cm long.

This is me stuffing small stones into the tunnel and ramming them in with the rod to my right.

Next, the bentonite it should expand to around three times its volume when wet, it should stick together and agglomerate.

I pour it in and quickly ram it in by hand before it can absorb any water.

Multiple layers pressed in by hand and mixed with gravel.

Some clay rich soil to finish off…

Fingers crossed…so far no new signs of leakage.

Assassin’s Creed, Coypu and Pampas

Given the subject matter of yesterday’s dream it seemed only logical to watch the film Assassin’s Creed last night. In this the biological descendent of an assassin is put into a big electronic recapitulation gizmo so that the Templars can take him back to 1492 and find the whereabouts of the “apple”, suggesting that the memories of his forefathers are encoded in his genetics, and it should be possible to regress. There are a number of quasi-historical problems with the script. Unless the Templars went underground and thrived in secret, they had ceased to exist a number of centuries previous to 1492 but how else could the Americans get a USA angle in? The gist is that the Templars are working for a new world order in which they are the boss.

Anyway, I did, like in the film, re-enact the night of my accident, by dragging myself around the house.

Yesterday I did some repairs on the anti-Coypu fence around the pond. This morning the river is up, and the little bugger has undone some of my repair and left me some turds to say Hi. On the left you can see where it went in the water. The pond is pretty full and is now leaking quite a bit, probably due to that South American blighter. The repair we made works for low pond levels, but there is more to do tomorrow, to adjust for winter pond levels.

Early this year we took two trailers full of pampas out of the pampas grass. It has rewarded us with a nice display…

The Coypu, An Eel and Changed Acoustics

I am taking a day off gardening etc. because my hips are giving me gyp. Yesterday evening we had a plumber visit to quote us on some repairs to the central heating. We have a spiral staircase and three floors. It is difficult enough to explain how the system is configured in English, but I had to try in French with a largely sceptical audience. This necessitated him and I going up and down the stairs multiple times and at near “normal” speeds. As a result, my hips are very sore. I think we managed to communicate, and we now have a quotation.

{I must remember not to mention electrode potentials.}

Of late we have been seeing tell-tale signs of the coypu, by way of fresh turds. It has been absent for much of the summer and now autumn has started, it has returned. When we were out using the telescope the other night the wife heard a splash in the pond. Today I found a turd very close to the house and some signs of munching under the magnolia tree. I might arm the camera with the telephoto and set an alarm. I am reading the return as a first sign of autumn.

Recently we have observed a phenomenon in which the little fish in the pond appear to be being chased by a predator, one which does not surface. We watch for a long time and nothing surfaces.  A few years back Le Jaudy suffered a pollution incident with a lot of pig shit escaping into it. {There are an estimated 6 million pigs in Brittany, more pigs than people.} Today we have freshwater trout in our stretch, and the river is open again to fishing. I have found a survey that suggests eel, salmon and seatrout were found near here in the past. It is possible that the populations of these have started to recover. My best guess is that we now have an eel resident in the pond. The last survey found that the eels here were between 15 cm and 45 cm long, so it could be a little one and might try to predate the little fish by driving them into the shallows. Eels can “walk” across land on wet nights between watercourses.

Now that we have removed a lot of the bamboo the acoustics of the river flowing under the bridge have changed. There is less damping by bamboo and the river, although low, sounds louder. It flows under the road and through a big “pipe” in effect. If it is louder now, what will it be like when the level really gets up? There is a little more maintenance to do and then I’ll post a picture.

I have been contemplating getting a USB microphone power supply / recording set up to record voice, birdsong, rivers etc. I have a very high-quality microphone which I used to use to record spoken poetry. The level of birdsong by Le Jaudy and The Swamp in spring is high and I have an inkling to try to capture it using the laptop and my microphone.

The chicken fajitas have been marinating all afternoon and soon it will be time so sample them with a “virgin” mojito or two…

Early Morning Coypu Encounter

I was sneaking along the edge of the greenhouse to try to get a photo of some ducklings when this brown furry thing plopped into the water only a couple of metres away. It made me jump.

It swam into the middle of the pond and had a good look at me.

It then swam to duck corner and got out on the little rock there.

I saw something else moving off to hide in the reeds – junior.

Standing guard while junior hides.

Coypu or Otter?

Up early this morning to welcome the kitchen fitter. I went down to the pond in the pre-dawn, the light levels were low. Yesterday I noticed what looked like the skin of an eviscerated toad. So, I am wondering if the otter(s) are back for their springtime toad banquet. As I got close to the pond behind our greenhouse, the three wild ducks took off. I stood close to the wall of the greenhouse and there in the pond about ten metres away something started swimming. It was heading off to “plug hole corner” and to the well-worn track back into Le Jaudy. I saw a small dark object get out of the pond and head down into the river. It could have been either the coypu or an otter. It was too dark to differentiate. We had a pair of otters last year and the coypu is a regular visitor.

I have just been down to check, no fresh coypu poo.

Looks like I am going to set an alarm for tomorrow and research how much an infrared triggered camera trap costs.