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**Thread of little facts & things**....3

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We're big fans of Strictly, although it's on a bit late for us. Also enjoy It Takes Two.

The big European Hornets nest finally fell out of the poplar tree, having withstood several storms in the last year. Started to shed the outer skin but it was a surprise that the inside landed from 20 metres up with so little damage. The structure is amazing, with each layer of egg chambers hanging off the one above it. About the same diameter as a football.04C40580-9464-4699-8FF8-502023D8017F_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.5c6d5a383c5267d4c4780512ff9c71ce.jpeg

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OMG - I have never seen anything like that.  Does that mean one year you had a colony of hornets hatching on your land?  Every year we get small nests from paper or thread wasps, which only have a dozen chambers or so, the whole thing is about an inch long. The nest has a thin 'stalk' which attachs itself to the host, which is often an agapanthus leaf, or window frame.

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Was up in the loft yesterday and found two hornets nests in there. I was actually trying to find out why the air recirculation system from the fire wasn't working; mice or rats had eaten through the ducting! When we arrived here hornets nested in the chimney above the cooker. It's an old chimney so very wide, but it had two huge nests in it which blocked the extractor fan. Main problem was the hornets trying to get to the nest. Seems they don't have a route as such, just directional sense, so trying to reach the nest via the kitchen was a regular occurrence and we were swatting up to 20 a day.

We only have one TNN left. She's 9 years old now and hasn't feathered up very well after her moult. It's turned cold here and she was suffering, so we decided to bring her in overnight to sleep in a cage in 'sick bay' (bathroom). Well yesterday evening she disappeared! After a thorough search of the house and a lot of calling with no reply she was finally found; settled down on the desk between the laptop and the printer, looking decidedly comfortable there as well.

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I meant to say 'poplar' tree @Daphne.

The European hornets are quite docile but the Asians can be deadly. They sting for no reason then lay a pheromone trail back to the hive so the rest can follow it to sting you. There are several people killed each year by them. We had a hive of fluffy black beens in a hole in the wall behind a shutter. The Asians found and destroyed it; the bill from the pest control man was €150! There has now been an Asiatic hornet spotted in M*****ille, but I don't know anything about them other than it was felt serious enough to put on the news.

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I have been to the vets 3 times in the past 4 days, and more times than I like to remember over the past 2 years, with the acquisition of a daft rescue kitten who is now a daft grown up cat.  OH tried joking with the vet yesterday that the cat represented her pension plan, but it got lost a bit in translation. 

Anyway, the practice is on a main road in our local small town.  Next door but one is a vacant plot of land, below street level so you don't easily see it, with a dozen olive trees and a lot of bare earth.  More interestingly there is also a flock of about a dozen chickens which I had managed never to notice before!  There is at least one cockeral, something that looks like a marans, a couple of naked necks, assorted brown hens and a black brahma - I have never seen a brahma in Portugal, so I am very excited.  Our next vet visit is on Tuesday, so I am going to have another look and see who else I can spot!

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On 11/25/2021 at 4:41 PM, Daphne said:

I have been to the vets 3 times in the past 4 days, and more times than I like to remember over the past 2 years, with the acquisition of a daft rescue kitten who is now a daft grown up cat.  OH tried joking with the vet yesterday that the cat represented her pension plan, but it got lost a bit in translation. 

Anyway, the practice is on a main road in our local small town.  Next door but one is a vacant plot of land, below street level so you don't easily see it, with a dozen olive trees and a lot of bare earth.  More interestingly there is also a flock of about a dozen chickens which I had managed never to notice before!  There is at least one cockeral, something that looks like a marans, a couple of naked necks, assorted brown hens and a black brahma - I have never seen a brahma in Portugal, so I am very excited.  Our next vet visit is on Tuesday, so I am going to have another look and see who else I can spot!

Daphne did you shout ‘Chickens!!!!’

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