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Apologies for the delay replying.
Yes, very sad about Siili. I still keep looking to see if there’s a hog with no eyeshine. I think even without garden hazards many don’t survive hibernation. It’s one of the most dangerous times of year for hogs. It’s a fine balance making sure there is enough of the right sorts of fat, that they don’t oversleep, or wake up too often in mid-hibernation, etc. I was hoping she wouldn’t hibernate (as she hadn’t the year before) but there we are. It had to be her choice.
I probably shouldn’t say it – asking for trouble – but haven’t seen the rat for quite a while. I’ve even risked putting the bird feeder out the last couple of days. The cats are being a problem again now – eating the hog’s food. The cat creeps under grabs a big mouthful of food, comes back out, drops it and then eats it in comfort. Then repeats, several times if there are no hogs around. It’s intelligence is clearly wasted!
But that rat was a real pest. From my old seeds pretty much the only thing that grew was some radishes. I thought there must have been a mouse nibbling at them, but then after I pulled them all up a rat sized hole appeared in the tub they were growing in and the few rocket plants that had grown all got dug up. So I have given up on that plan. Don’t fancy the idea of rocket (or anything else) which a rat has been wandering amongst!
Re. the bird food, I usually feed suet pellets in a dish (similar to the hogs ones) on a bird table, so very little gets to the ground and if it does one of the other birds usually vacuum them up pretty quickly. They do tend to attract some of the bigger birds (rooks and jackdaws), initially at least. But in the bird feeder I decided years ago to stick to sunflower hearts as pretty much all birds eat those.
When I used to feed a mix years ago, I found that so much was wasted. I think they just chucked everything they didn’t like out and just ate the things they did like. I had some interesting plants springing up underneath, though! I think most of any sunflower hearts spilt get eaten by the smaller birds. The hogs come right past where the feeder is (it’s taken in at night) and never seem to stop there. So either the small birds are doing a pretty good job, or the hogs like their own food better. Kitten biscuits at the moment, but I might risk mixing some of the hog food in again and hope the rat really has gone. Cats less likely to eat the hog food, but rats more likely – can’t win!
But yes, the hogs certainly can be pretty speedy! One of my cameras mostly only catches hogs leaving and another mostly only arriving. Different ends of the garden so hogs always going away from the camera. It seems the cameras aren’t always quick enough to catch images of hogs approaching.
There is at least one frog still around. It has a habit of suddenly jumping right near my feet in the evenings – and making me jump! I always love to see them. The garden has been buzzing with bees as well. Just wish it wasn’t quite so hot. Yesterday it was a bit breezy as well – not so good for the plants – it sometimes amazes me that they survive at all. I’ve got a nice crop of ladybird larvae appearing on my hop plant now – they really do look like little mini-monsters! But plenty of aphids for them to eat.
You’re lucky that they are being more cautious there about social distancing, etc. Here a lot of people don’t seem to be taking much notice any more. Good to know you managed to get a shopping home delivery.
Hope you stay safe, too.