It was a raccoon. He had turned over my bird bath, an arrangement of two large clay pots with the tray on top. Clunk!
I love these fiery eyes!
While I took photo after photo, aiming blind at the shadows, another raccoon arrived. And then another, a larger one; the mother. She stayed back, almost out of sight, while her pups checked out the water they'd spilled.
Then another, and another, and a fifth youngster.
Five masked bandits.
I had opened the door by now, for clearer photos. I thought this would scare them away. No. They stopped and looked at me, and went back to their nosing around.
I didn't dare step outside; mother raccoons can be agressive. But I shouted at them. They're terribly cute, but I don't want them here every night, thirsty or not. The birds need that bath!
They ignored me. Even the mother did.
My gardening shoes were beside the door; they're soft. I threw them at the nearest cubs. My aim is lousy, and the shoes are now in the hedge. But the raccoon family took the hint. They ambled off into the night, not in a hurry.
I hope they found water eventually (somewhere else); it's been a hot day.