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Good to hear from you! The early bird hog is missing again at the moment. I can only hope she is having hoglets. She has been missing for about a week now. Since her return she had been coming every evening again. Unfortunately on the third night she was back, she arrived at 8.45 when it had been 9.30 the night before so I hadn’t put the food out yet. She disappeared into the bushes and I crept out and put the food there, but unfortunately, she didn’t come back. The next night she was late and had marks on her. Poor little thing. (Sadly, now nearly every hog has got ‘who knows what’ on them) I now make sure I put the food out earlier, but she hasn’t been back that early again. Before she disappeared again, she had begun to look less narrow which could have been either getting more food or possibly being pregnant.
Digger has been keeping me guessing. There have been a few times when she’s been missing for two nights and I was hoping that maybe she had babies quite close by. But then she started cavorting with the boys and some lengthy circling and huffing sessions ensued. Not the sort of behaviour you would expect from a hog with babies ‘back home’. Meanwhile some mini hog poos have been appearing, but no sign of who produced them. But did Digger produce early and is now planning a second brood(?) Or was she was pregnant earlier (the boys seemed to lose interest at one stage) and her pregnancy failed for some reason.
There has been one other female. She has always been a bit timid and quite clever at not being caught by the camera, so may have been visiting late night/early morning without me knowing. She is one of the two hoglets from 2016 (Erin and Aceus) who were overwintered, so she should be capable of breeding now. It’s possible she has had hoglets and they have already learnt from her how to avoid the camera!
In general on the hog front it is fairly quiet at the moment. Digger’s current most frequent suitor, who I call pale skirt, for obvious reasons, was discovered asleep in the feed box yesterday morning. Not in the more spacious one, but the new one with double partitions, so there isn’t a lot of room – and he is a big hog! He stayed there all day, but isn’t back today. I had gone to take the dish out and there he was. I was worried he might leave, having been disturbed, but he was obviously too tired. Not surprising if he spent most of the night ‘dancing’! He left two large ticks behind in ‘payment’ for his stay!
When it came to evening I thought I could risk carefully putting a new bowl of food in there so got a good look at the top of his spines. As I had thought from looking through the binoculars, this stuff he is covered with is looks claggy, with clumps of spines tending to stick together. Apart from anything else, it probably feels uncomfortable if the spines aren’t able to move independently as they should. I truly cannot understand the motivation for anyone doing that to a hog. I agree with you that these people could probably be prosecuted under the cruelty to animals laws – if we knew who they were.
The downside of his overnight stay, was that no sooner had poor Digger arrived than he was making advances to her. Luckily, she did eventually manage to get a fair bit of food – she is looking a bit thinner than she was – maybe, too much ‘dancing’ and not enough foraging! Once she had stopped eating, some more serious circling began, but he kept dashing off and leaving her standing there. What was he thinking! In the end it was getting a bit late and I wanted to get the dishes in so I crept out, hoping they were busy. Turned out I chose a time when he was on one of his circuits and whilst I was watching where Digger was, I suddenly heard rustling behind me. Circling and huffing resumed shortly afterwards.
Horace is still visiting, usually quite late – last night the poor chap got a good biffing and rolling up by pale skirt, so he didn’t get much food before beating a hasty retreat. I expect he sneaked back later, that’s what usually happens.
Sounds lovely and peaceful, sitting out listening to the bats. I have often wondered about getting one of those bat detectors, but there seem so many of them that I have never been sure which one I should get and some of the more elaborate ones are quite expensive. Any tips? So far I don’t think any bats have been caught on video, although once there was something quite large, but could have been a close up moth. I am hoping when the buddleia comes into flower it will attract them in front of the camera again. Have you been able to work out what or how many different species are visiting?
At least one of my martin nests seems to have bumble bees in it, which is a bit of a shame – for the martins, but not the bees. Luckily one of my near neighbours has put up two semi-detached nests, like mine and they are using that instead. So in the fairly near area, there are four nests being used. So lovely having the martins swooping around in the area as they should be. I don’t think those bees usually stay long, but don’t know whether the martins would clean it out themselves and use it or not.
It must have been interesting to see the goldfinch collecting cobwebs. It just amazes me how clever some of the birds are at making nests. Some of them so intricate. I hope your sparrows fledge successfully. I usually have them in my roof, too, although at the moment think it may be a bit hot – south side. Like you, the last few days more butterflies have begun to appear. I found a small tortoiseshell inside on my curtains this morning. Luckily it was still a bit sleepy, so I was able to move it to the windowsill in the sun and it quickly flew off. This weather should be ideal for them. Just hope enough flowers are surviving for them to feed on.
My ‘lawn’ is getting a bit too long in places now, and I can’t see down the path on video. I had been purposely letting it get a bit longer, but had just got to the stage when I should have mown parts of it when the hot weather set in. Now I don’t like to mow any of it, as it would just go brown, so think I’ll have to wait until we get some rain. It will need careful checking before I mow to make sure there aren’t any slow-worms, etc. hiding in it. The hogs seem to like it longer, but also seem to like having places they can move faster across more easily, so I think a mix of long and shorter is probably best for them. It always makes me laugh that when they arrive, most of them always come up the path!
I still have at least one frog in my tub ponds and probably two and recently have been seeing damselflies. Some seemed to be laying eggs in my pond which is very exciting. I went to a local wildlife place (lots of water) a couple of weeks ago and it was incredible how many damselflies were there. There was just this sort of turquoise sheen just above the water. Amazing.
Little Robin still ‘mobs’ me for food if I don’t notice him/her. I imagine there must be babies around because he/she usually flies straight off with food. This year there is a female blackbird doing similar – other years it has always been the males. Such lovely little creatures and so clever.
P.S. Like your new profile pic.