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Our little hog friend of last year hasn't reappeared

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Our little hog friend of last year hasn't reappeared

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    Hi Annie

    My borders are buzzing with insects too. It’s lovely at this time of year, when everything still, just about, looks quite fresh and still more yet to come into flower.

    Sorry to hear about the sadness about the camera. Our little furry friends do leave such a big gap in our lives when they go. I hope you will eventually feel able to set it up again.

    The interesting thing, here, is that now there are fewer hogs visiting, I very seldom get hog poos on the patio – where they feed. I always did think it was sometimes a feeling a bit insecure thing, with lots of other hogs around. I seldom even see them elsewhere in the garden and there are definitely hogs around. So absence of hog poo, doesn’t necessarily mean absence of hogs.

    Well done re. The developers. Sounds promising, but like you say, not always easy to be sure what they mean.

    Digger is still visiting, so unless they are really nearby, no hoglets yet. I don’t see Horace every night, but I think he sometimes comes a bit late. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure he is the same one as Hoglet, but he looks pretty much like him. I don’t normally name them until they are adults because their markings do seem to develop a bit as they mature. He is very timid and creeps in to the food. Last night Digger was there when he arrived and she immediately left and so he did too – in the opposite direction. In the space of about 10 minutes he had made 5 visits! Digger did come back and they were both there eating out of different bowls at one point.

    There is another young chap who visits occasionally and the big male is often seen late at night on the cam. As well as, sometimes, a poor unfortunate male hog who has been, shamefully, covered in something, as if someone is trying to make him look like a tabby cat. If that was a domestic pet everyone would be up in arms. I don’t know why people can’t just love them for what they are. Even poor Horace is a bit of a mess (which may be why he is so timid) but not as bad as this chap.

    Still no other females, unless they are one of the very late visitors. I was hoping one of the other youngsters might be, but he conveniently scratched in front of the camera! I am hoping that the males not being much interested in Digger now might mean she is pregnant. Fingers crossed for some hoglets especially females ones!

    I’m not sure, yet, if the house martins are using all the nests. I usually have to sit out there for a while and watch, but there has been building work over the road recently so not very tranquil! (thank goodness for the back garden). They are definitely in the 2 favourite ones and it’s lovely to see them, through the window, swooping up to their nests. They were saying in Springwatch how the martins, swallows and swifts have been late back this year, but I am hoping these have got young ones already. They certainly seem to be making quite frequent visits to the nests.

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    Hi Annie

    The most amazing thing! My early bird female hog visitor has returned (You may not remember, but she used to be on my profile pic before I put the template one on). I hadn’t seen her since August so feared I wouldn’t see her again. She’s been twice now and just as always is the first one here. She is looking very small and quite narrow looking as if she needs a good feed. I saw her coming through the arch and immediately thought, that doesn’t look like Digger, so dashed to get the binoculars. She very inconveniently kept having her back to me, so I wasn’t 100% sure until last night. She is the most like Digger of all the hogs (and I have always thought they must be closely related), but has paler spines and has always been quite a bit smaller. When Digger arrived she looked a picture of health and vitality beside the little one.

    There is a logical explanation. She used to come through the garden where the building was happening and it has recently finished (I hope). Unfortunately she has always had to cross the road – always a worry and I wish she would move to this side. When she left, I rushed to the front of the house to see if she appeared there, as used to happen, but didn’t see her, so you never know, maybe she will move over here.

    Meanwhile, I am just so delighted to see her back – even if it is extra worry!


    Hi Nic

    How exciting to have the female hog back! Maybe by now you’ll have a better idea if Digger’s had any babies this year, if so they’ll add to the worries you have with all these spiky people in your garden.

    The only real bit of wildlife I get to see here apart from the zillions of birds is bats. I have a bat detector & sit out on the back step after the light goes & can pick them up on different frequencies meaning different types of bat as far as I know. Have to consult my bat info to see what it says. I can see them tearing about after the night insects, we didn’t used to have them near the house only down the lanes but since last year they’ve been here too.

    Something I’ve noticed since the weather’s been so terribly hot is the lack of slugs, hopefully the little beasts have dried up or are more likely staying below ground til things improve up top.

    No visitors to the food apart from cats as far as I know, but now you’ve told me there’s not necessarily any poo at the dishes at this time of year I’m not so sure. Someone definitely pulls the dish out to get at it & I’m quite sure that’s a cat.

    Glad the building work has ended opposite you, the hogs can settle back into their previous pathways without all the mess to negotiate hopefully.

    Whoever is making the mess on your hogs could probably be prosecuted for it, they don’t have any regard for the animals themselves & that’s for sure.

    Sparrows in my roof were making some new ones today just in front of the hole they go in & out of – I could hear their babies! Hope exciting things are happening in your garden &that the house martin nests are now all inhabited.


    Hi again

    Wildlife is here but not hogs unfortunately. There was a goldfinch taking cobwebs from my fence yesterday, for nesting I guess & today a Brimstone butterfly on the geraniums. More bat activity at night too.

    Exciting anyway.

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    Hi Annie

    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.


    Hi Nic

    Been taking a break from the internet & concentrating on being outside as it’s the first summer in memory that I’ve been able to do that for many reasons.

    Rather hope you’ll be having hoglets visiting after the mentions of a female being slightly larger & Digger’s hopeful but fairly slow beau making (apparently unsuccessful but who knows what goes on off camera!!) advances to her.

    The claggy mess on the male hog could seriously affect his ability to curl up if attacked, also presumably could collect other matter if he goes too near something he shouldn’t. Hateful idiotic people doing such stupid things, makes me mad too.

    What with your robin, the frogs on your tub ponds, house martins & bees in the martin nest you really have a piece of nature to be proud of. Last year I’m quite sure we had bumbles in the roof as I’d see them on the wall heading upwards & disappearing & Frankie & Minx spent a lot of time looking up at the ceiling in the room underneath.

    Baby sparrows must have left the nest here I think, been plenty in the garden & that’s for sure. Judging by the activity in the borders there are lots of insects for them, sparrows in & out, up & down stems everywhere.

    Also lots of butterflies, but all either large or small Whites visiting the verbena bonariensis, stock & geraniums. Just the one Brimstone I mentioned a few weeks ago & haven’t seen any more since.

    The Escallonia in my front garden is absolutely plastered in bumbles & assorted other bees & insects. It’s covered in pink flowers, has shot up at least a foot in height when I wasn’t looking & is causing comment from neighbours because of all the bees. The noise is amazing when you stand by it & it’s so lovely to see them with their legs thick with pollen.

    The bat detector I bought a few years ago is a Magenta Bat5, I particularly like it because it has a lit up display so you can see the frequency you’re tuning to & also a built in torch which has its uses when you’re stumbling about in the dark! On bat walks with the council we were given detectors with & without the display & I found this one easy as then you pretty much know what bat it is straight away as long as you have an idea of how to tell – there are lists on the internet, the simplest one is on Staffordshire Bat Group’s site.

    The bats we get here are Pipistrelles, have seen Daubentons whizzing about over lakes on bat walks too, really acrobatic!

    Needless to say no hog activity here, with the countryside ever getting distant with the huge amount of building going on they’ll be up against it even more. Instead of less than half a mile to countryside we are now becoming several miles from it. Swathes of green fields turned to brown dry earth with timber framed soul-less ‘posh’ homes going up at a rate of knots. So sad. Traffic is already heavy here as we’re on the route into the city from the countryside, the type of homes going up are not the ones where people will use the bus, they’re firmly in the more than one car bracket. That’s the road Frankie used once too often & he won’t be the last to suffer the consequences.

    The poppies in my profile were last year’s probably , they have been rubbish this summer, don’t like the dry & heat, strange as I’d have thought they were conditions they’d thrive in. Must have adapted to wind & rain which is what they usually get.

    Hope to hear some happy news & the patter of tiny feet from your garden!

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    Hi Annie

    Lovely to hear your wildlife news.

    I haven’t seen the early bird hog again for 25 days, which seems a bit long. I was hoping she was having hoglets and I suppose it’s still possible. She may not have wanted to bring them across the road. The other night I did see an adult sized hog on the front path but it was pretty dark and I couldn’t see who it was, but it could have been her. I made a hasty retreat, but whoever it was didn’t appear round the back a few minutes later which is what used to happen with her.

    There is, though, another hog. I’m not sure whether it could have been a really early hoglet, or whether it was ‘hoglet’s sibling from last year (ie. Late hoglet). This new little hog seems to have some of Digger’s ‘mannerisms’. The early bird hog (who I think must be related) used to dig through her food like Digger but on a much smaller scale and didn’t do Digger’s circling. This little one has been doing both, although not sending the food flying in all directions as Digger does, but that may yet develop! It doesn’t look anything like Digger, but the one who was here with ‘hoglet’ last year was like this one. I saw it scratching and couldn’t see a ‘blob’ so am hoping it’s a female, but can’t be sure yet.

    Anyway, the lovely little hog has now turned up excessively marked. So sad – poor little thing. It now seems to spend a lot of time here and I hope it has realised that wherever it got that mess on it, is NOT a nice place to go.

    Horace is still visiting, but again quite late. He doesn’t show any interest in Digger if they meet, now, even though she sometimes starts huffing and reversing. I think Digger has been trying to keep me guessing and behaving in a very un-Digger-like way. She hasn’t always visited every night as usual, but is sometimes seen very late on the video. I have been leaving plenty of food out all night in this hot dry weather. So she has been taking advantage of that. Last night I didn’t see her either in person/hog or on video. So maybe she’s finally going to have some hoglets …. or she might just be back, as normal tomorrow.

    I’m not seeing robin quite so often now and he/she is not so persistent, but a pair of cute little speckly robins appeared so that must be what all that feeding was about. ‘Robin’ keeps trying to chase them away now! A lot of the birds are looking thoroughly scruffy, including Robin, who seems to have lost his/her tail. The bumble bees have vacated the house martin nest and I have seen martins flying up there, but not sure whether they are actually using it. No more sightings of the bullfinches, which is sad – I was hoping they might become regular visitors. Like with you, there are plenty of sparrows around here, as well as starlings. The sparrows can be very entertaining! I caught a whole mob of starlings having a bath in the hog’s water bowl early one morning on the cam. Water flying everywhere! There seem to be a lot of birds here very early mornings finishing off anything the hogs have left, including some smart looking magpies. I know some people don’t like them, but they are pretty spectacular looking birds. The funny thing is, I seldom see them the rest of the day.

    A few years ago, after debating for a long time, I finally had a cherry tree removed from my small front garden. It was neither attractive, nor did the birds eat the very few tiny cherries. I hated the thought of cutting down a tree, but it really was in the wrong place, was problematical and seemed to contribute little to wild life. In it’s place are now growing nicely in a sort of informal hedge, several shrubs (some now about 5 feet high) – hawthorn, elm, dogwood and privet of native plants as well as buddleia (even taller) and some other smaller ones and some ground cover too. A much more diverse habitat than was there before. Now nearly every time I look out there, there are birds and/or butterflies, so I’m really glad I made the change.

    Frog numbers have increased to 3! One in one tub pond and two in another. Hopefully they’re doing their bit to keep slug numbers down too. Like you most of the butterflies are whites, so far, but there are a few others. Comma – I have some hop in the garden which is a food plant for the larvae, as well as stinging nettles, so I hope there might be some caterpillars – if the birds don’t eat them all, of course! I am hoping now the buddleia flowers are coming out that there may be more butterflies.

    Your escallonia sounds good. One of my cotoneasters’ was a bit like that. It goes over the gate so as you walked through you could hear all this buzzing all around. Lovely. I had some of those poppies in my garden this year. The plant grew like a triffid but was rather lovely when the flowers came out. That was before this hot dry weather, though. I love the way they just pop up wherever they feel like it! It could easily have been bumbles in your roof. I think the high up ones are tree bumbles of some kind and my neighbour had some in her roof – although, I’m not sure they were all that welcome there.

    So sorry to hear about all the development round there. It doesn’t sound very friendly for any ground creatures with that road. It makes me really cross too, that it always seems to be the soul-less posh houses they build. Thank goodness it can’t keep out the birds and butterflies, and only hope that enough people have wildlife friendly gardens to encourage them to stay around.

    Thanks for the info. About the bats. Sounds really interesting watching them. I would love to know what the bats here are. No sign of them on video yet this year, but the camera is a different one with not such a good image so they may not show as well.

    Have just had a quick look out the window and there were martins circling around up in the sky, sparrows being sparrows, a young starling pecking at the bird bowl and butterflies flitting around. Lovely. One of the sparrows was in the doorway to one of the hog feed boxes, as if it had just been in! All quite ordinary things, but all help to make the world a better place.


    Hi Nic

    I’m beginning to think you could write a book about all the comings & goings in your garden as it makes such good reading. At the very least a column in a local paper!

    Rather hilariously I’ve paid a price for having the sparrows nesting in the roof. During the torrential rain we had last week there was Niagara Falls outside the bedroom window as it gushed over the top of the downpipe & hammered to the ground. I went out in shorts & a t-shirt with buckets to collect as much as I could, kept emptying them on the garden & putting them back to fill again. It was lovely getting soaked myself after all the hot dry weather! Shows how useful a water butt would be, I collected water off the shed roofs too & must have had 14 gallons if not more altogether. When the weather settled down on Monday I had the window cleaner have a look as he does gutters & cleaned mine last year & lo & behold the end of the gutter was completely blocked with dropped nesting materials & soil. It had formed a mat & also gone down the elbow & stuck there too. It’s now clear & I hope the sparrows (still active in the roof) teach their babies to hop across the downpipe not fall in it. Nice as it’s been having them there I’ll have to get the hole under the tiles filled when autumn comes as don’t want blocked gutters again. Could have flooded their nest actually the way the water was moving.

    So nice to see elsewhere on Hedgehog Street forums how many people have hog activity, gives you hope doesn’t it. Just wish the markers would refrain & simply enjoy the spectacle of having such amazing creatures in their gardens.

    Has Digger given any clues as to what she’s been up to yet? Baby robins are so cute, so unlike the adults with their speckled feathers.

    Your front garden sounds a better place since you made the changes, it’s always a bad feeling getting rid of a tree but you’ve replaced it wisely as far as the wildlife are concerned.

    I read on an RSPB blog a few years back to put random sticks in the border as perches for birds. I had a couple of old walking sticks so ‘planted’ them along with assorted longish pieces of fallen branches, including fixing some longer ones to the fence so they’re elevated above it & the birds use them all. Have left Evening Primrose plants each year now after they finish flowering because the birds like the seeds & the plant dries out eventually forming more perches. Have lots of little Evening Primrose plantlets coming up all over the garden every year but just take out the ones in the wrong place & leave the rest. The perfume from them wafts in through windows at night when they’re in flower, beautiful. Day & night insects feed on them too.

    All in all, nature makes us feel better doesn’t it when all else around us is going a bit potty!

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    Hi Annie

    You’re so right about all the craziness in the world! Just as well there other things to distract us.

    That is so funny, you out in the rain catching all the water! But, as you say, must have been lovely after all the hot weather. I think you definitely need some water butts! I’ve had one on, just one side of the shed (only 6′ by 8′) for years and it collects an amazing amount of water. Now I have an overflow butt there as well! There are four more on the house, although smaller ones. I’ve recently moved one round to the front where there is a longer section of guttering. It filled about ΒΎ full after the nice bit of rain we had, but is nearly empty again already! (Some water companies sell them at reduced prices. They have water diverters, so if the butt is full, the water just goes down the pipe).

    The sparrows have been nesting in my roof for years, but don’t seem to cause too much trouble. They do make a bit of a mess in the guttering, but I have a bit of scrunched up wire netting in the top of the downpipe which helps stop too much going down. I find there is more of a problem from moss falling off the roof! Maybe you could ask your window cleaner to just clear that bit out a bit more often? Having said that, my guttering is in short stretches, so maybe it’s easier.

    Re. sticks in the border. I have a pole in the front garden where a bird table used to be (years ago). The pole has since has become a favourite perch, even now when the bushes have grown up beside it. Brilliant idea using old walking sticks!

    I bet the birds are loving your evening primroses. They seem to come and go a bit in my garden. Some years there are loads, but this year not so many. I wonder if they’re biennial like foxgloves? That might explain it. I love the way you can actually watch the seed pod suddenly bouncing open and spraying the seeds all around.

    Very quiet here, on the hog front. Digger’s been missing for over a week now. Just hope it’s hoglet related. The early bird hog still hasn’t been back, so fear she may not return again. Otherwise mostly just Splash (the new small one) and Horace. One night I spotted a new hoglet exploring, but it didn’t find the food and, sadly, hasn’t been back since. But at least there is one around, which is good.

    Before she disappeared, Digger seemed to have decided that her venerable age gives her permission to behave in an autocratic manner. One night Splash was eating from one of the bowls when Digger arrived. Digger strode up to Splash’s bowl and nudged Splash peremptorily out of the way, whereupon Splash retreated and semi-curled up, looking for all the world as if she was bowing! Another night, Digger was eating when Splash arrived. Splash just stood there and waited until the bowl was just about empty. Then Digger, leaving Splash to pick up the ‘crumbs’ from around it, moved to another bowl!

    I wonder what the sleeping hogs in the feed box (Splash and Horace still taking it in turns) make of the mob of starlings who descend, nearby, in the early morning to finish off the hog food. This morning I spotted that one of the youngsters (half and half plumage) only has one leg. It was managing amazingly well (when you consider how much they normally use their two legs) and only very occasionally put it’s wing out for added support. I even saw it amongst the crowd after the whole mob had descended.

    The strange luminous round thing which I have been seeing, on video hovering over the bushes, appeared right in front of the camera recently. It just looks like a luminous pompom! I couldn’t make out any wings or head or tail. Then it just wafted out of view. Still no idea what it is. Very mysterious!


    Hi Nic

    Yes, yes, yes- a hog in my garden at last!!! Found some poo yesterday so set up the camera & the feeding box with dry cat food & hog food mixed & this morning all the hog food was gone & most of the cat stuff & a few pictures of a young hog (probably last year’s I think) passing the camera & walking off on long long legs. It must be one of the teleporting hogs as there were no picture of how it got where it was or of it going in or out of the box. The camera will be differently place tonight to see what happens. It was 10 to 1 when he/she appeared on the camera. So excited, this is like Christmas!!

    Your hovering light sounds like something we had once on a photo years ago, never got to the bottom of that. Had a huge crab like luminous looking monster on the other camera outside last year & after watching it coming & going for ages I finally realised it was a spider spinning a web across the camera.

    Scrunched up wire netting is a plan, have to get window cleaner to do it for me as too high for my ladders. I liked having the sparrows to stay so it’ll be nice to have them again.

    Am looking after next door’s cat as he more or less abandoned her when he started working away from home mid summer. Having spoken to him I now know he made a loose arrangement for dry food to be left down for her but there seems to have been no welfare included in that or water come to that. Have made her a little bed as she’s chosen to sleep in our open porch on top of one of Frankie’s old houses with a flat top. She has hardly got out of it since I made it two nights ago, think it’s a success. He’ll be home at the end of September so will have a confused cat who doesn’t know where she lives by that time. She eats by my front door & uses Frankie’s outdoor water bowl & the bird water.

    Has Digger been about lately or is she still being mysterious? I often wonder if wildlife takes the same notice of things as we do re the noisy birds around the hog in the box, it might be a perception thing if it doesn’t represent danger they block it out. Re the bird with one leg it was probably born that way & doesn’t know any different. Have any of the hoglets been around?

    Have never seen so many white butterflies as this year, constant supply. Saw a tiny blue one one day in my garden. The bee tubes are amazingly full, the four boxes all being used & in great numbers which is promising for next year. Evening Primrose here has seeded itself absolutely everywhere, am having to pull lots up as it’s in very awkward places but leaving lots to get on with it. The plants have been reflowering this weekend after they appeared to have finished, the plants I’ve left in previous years to die off & provide seed for the birds have formed dry architectural interest for the winter, perches for the birds & only finally fell over when the summer was so dry. Think if I didn’t pull up lots of the seedling the entire garden would be covered! My neighbour is the happy recipient of plants that have grown from blown seed, she also has a side border full of escapees of all the other plants I have!

    Definitely must do something about water butts, Monty Don horrified me with open cattle troughs as water collectors as cats & other mammals drown regularly in deep open containers with no way to climb out. Water butts with badly fitting or missing tops have been responsible for some horrible accidents too. I never leave watering cans upright anywhere in the garden between uses since finding a drowned frog in Mum’s about 20 years ago for the same reason. Upright empty large flower pots are equally dangerous, found a frog who’d died because of not being able to climb back out of one many years back, it’s easy to not see the dangers of everyday things when you’re as big as we are in comparison to our little friends. My pots lie on their sides if not in use or safely away in a covered container.

    The cooler weather is so much kinder isn’t it, the garden is well watered too as I’m sure yours is.

    A rose I grew from a cutting has a glorious red flower on it, think I mentioned before it dates back to the 60’s when my Grandad grew it for Grandma when she was ill. Mum took cuttings & had two enormous plants & I took mine from hers when I emptied my parents’s bungalow in 2016 to sell it.

    Look forward to your news!

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    Hi Annie

    I’ll reply properly later, but just had to say how pleased I am to hear you’ve had a hog there! Brilliant – such good news!

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    Hi Annie

    So pleased to hear about the hog. Hope it’s been continuing to visit. I think Splash has been doing a bit of teleporting as well. I don’t always see her coming up the garden.

    It’s lovely to hear about the cat ‘adopting’ you. She was lucky to find you. I suspect there are lots of cats around living ‘double lives’, so it will probably adapt alright. The cat I had years ago apparently used to go round and visit next door but one. I think he used to get food there too even though he was well fed! No wonder he was a bit chubby!

    I saw something really sad on video this morning. It seems one of the visiting cats has become aware of the bats that are often caught on the cam. Suddenly a flying cat appeared and when it landed, there sticking out the side of it’s mouth was a bat wing. So sad. I’m wondering whether to raise the height of the bottom of the buddleia so they don’t fly so low trying to catch the insects. If it was just nature it would be different, but a well fed moggy catching it just seems wrong. I’m not even sure there would be enough on it for the cat to bother to eat it. That sort of thing is why I always kept my cat in at night. Not only bats, but birds in the early morning are at risk too.

    No sign of Digger, sadly, which is becoming worrying now. It’s been a bit too long. Likewise the early bird hog who made a re-appearance earlier. At the moment Splash is the only ‘regular’ at this particular hog hostelry. This time last year there were nine. The 2 hogs gave up alternatively sleeping in the feed box when the really hot weather stopped. Poor old Splash, no sooner was she re-marked than a few days later even more marks appeared on her. I just wish BHPS and PTES would take it more seriously and make some sort of notice which could be put up in problem locations. I think it needs some sort of authority. I don’t think they would take any notice of just an individual writing something. There is something on BHPS website, but I think it’s unlikely someone who is already marking, is going to look there to see what the guidelines are.

    We seem to have had an amazing number of white butterflies too. Might have something to do with them laying eggs on some horseradish in my garden (part of the cabbage family). It seems very popular. Can’t remember if I mentioned before, but last year I kept seeing little processions of caterpillars moving up the path and then some of them pupated on the surround of the door. There have been a few blues as well, but in general not as good a butterfly year as I expected with all the dry weather. Maybe there will be a late emergence.

    I was a bit horrified at Monty Don, too, with all the open water catchers. He’s usually very good about wildlife, although I am always sorry that they don’t mention the hazard to hogs when they mention netting. I learnt the hard way, many years ago, about not leaving containers outside which could fill with water. I found a poor sparrow drowned in a container after some rain. I was so upset. Now anything which can fill up and doesn’t have a plant pot (complete with plant) in it, goes in the shed or mini greenhouse. Keeping empty flower pots on their sides, sounds a very good idea. They might even make a temporary home for a frog instead!

    I haven’t noticed the one legged starling again, but I have had to switch my cam to night only as I was getting 800 or more videos in the morning! Only 15 seconds long, but even so. Most of birds or mice. When they’re not on video there’s such a lot going on when the starlings all land that it’s difficult to see. The robin seems to be becoming friendly again, after a break – waiting for new feathers.

    Lovely about your rose. It’s a really nice idea to pass plants through the generations like that. I grew a cutting this year of a rose in a friend’s garden. It’s amazing how quick it’s been growing, but no flowers yet.


    Hi Nic

    Happy to report that hog visits every night & scoffs some of the food I put down for him/her with no cats interfering with the food. Pretty sure one night I was looking at a larger hog, at another time of night, different camera angles can be deceptive. Delightful to see anyhow, also I settled for just snapshots rather than video as that uses so much battery power & often records sweet nothings after the hog has moved out of shot!
    Sorry to hear no Digger sightings, that must be rather sad for you. So hard not to become attached as you said once before. Hope she’s reappeared & also some more hogs as your numbers are down this year.
    Re marking of hogs, what can you say, you’d think if someone was interested in wildlife they’d have some understanding of these things but obviously not.
    So sad about the bat but a good idea re the buddleia. Some years ago I realised most shrubs can be cut into trees really by removing all lower branches thereby giving cats less places to hide & surprise birds & also the insects would be higher for your bats so double benefits.
    Little cat from next door utterly confused as neighbour’s partner is there intermittently but he’ll be living back at home soon & no doubt she’ll be delighted to move back in with him again.
    So many dangers to wildlife in a garden, saw a horrible article about a grass snake who’d become completely & I think fatally entangled in a football net left lying in a garden. Often see fruit netting sticking out under garden fences, all just waiting for some innocent creature to fall foul of it.
    I haven’t seen any mice on camera, used to see them often. Lovely pics of early morning birds though, real treat to see them. Our collared dove pair who come year in year out featured beautifully yesterday, they seemed to know they were being stars of the show the way they went back & fore in front of the camera & right up to it to give us a big smile.
    Hope for better news re Digger & your other prickly pals.

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    Hi Annie

    I’m so pleased for you that the hedgehog/s is still visiting. It’s lovely to know that even with a gap with no hogs, it’s still possible some will turn up again. You really deserved some good hog luck – after all your perseverance! It would be nice if there is more than one.

    I know what you mean about the batteries. My main camera I use rechargeable batteries but they have to be recharged every day. I might try photos now there is only one hog visiting. When there are lots of hogs, you miss out on seeing behaviour.

    Sadly still no Digger. Last seen 30th July – a bit too long. Very sad, but I haven’t totally given up hope yet. Unfortunately Horace/Aceus has also disappeared. If it was Horace, I have always thought that the males tend to disperse a bit, and if it was Aceus, still possible it was hoglet related. Little Splash seems to be loving having the place to herself. She is frequently seen on the lawn foraging. I have reached the conclusion that whilst a bit of longer grass is quite handy for insects, etc. to hide in during the day, the hogs seem to prefer slightly longer short grass to forage in, so I have just raised the height of the mower. Splash, for the first time for ages is actually looking more or less like a normal hog, with the markings mostly washed away. I just hope she stays like that, but not holding my breath!

    Re. the bushes, the only trouble is if you ‘lift the skirts’ of too many then it isn’t so good for the hogs. As it has happened, this year, the buddleia flowers on the lower branches seem to have gone over quickly (probably the hot dry weather earlier) so that’s lucky. Next year I might try to keep that one a bit higher. I used to, when I had my cat, because he and his friends from next door used to try to catch the butterflies. Mostly without much success, luckily.

    You mentioning mice reminds me that the mice that were here, using up huge numbers of videos, seem to have completely disappeared, too. I didn’t actually see any of the visiting cats catch any of them, but something must have happened.

    The netting is a problem. I just think, these days, that so many people have become so distanced from wildlife that they just don’t think about the consequences. Perhaps more of them need to read Pam Ayres hedgehog poem!

    I don’t get so many birds on the cam now – I have got it on night only – but there are some, very early morning. Including 4 magpies the other morning. I know not everyone likes them, but they are quite spectacular to look at. I seldom see them any other time of day. I do love the collared doves, though, they are such gentle looking birds!


    Hi Nic

    Young Henry hedgehog (time he had a name) is providing entertainment for me & the cats still. Very healthy looking little thing & has grown over the months since first appearing, lovely to see. No markings of an artificial type but in the middle of his forehead he has a little dark strip so very recognisable when he faces the camera. What is strange & maybe means there’s more than one coming is that some pictures very clearly show what I guess is a tail & others don’t show it at all.

    I’ve let the grass, weeds & forget-me-nots that have seeded themselves between the paving slabs of my path grow & Henry spends a lot of his time rooting about in the greenery. Plenty of small & fresh food there for him I expect. He scoffs all I put in the food dish most nights & when he doesn’t that presumably means there’s plenty of natural food for him. He’s thriving anyway & wherever he comes from & travels to at night I hope he has a guardian angel looking out for him as I’d hate to be a hog around here.

    What a shame about Digger, maybe she just found herself somewhere else she didn’t have to travel so far to get food. At least you know you helped her for a large part of her life & she was safe while she visited your garden.

    We have a very tatty magpie youngster who visits noisily, hopefully when he grows up a bit he’ll have some smarter livery as he’s a right mess now. He has no feathers round his neck, just a bald ring, he’s skinny & looks dirty poor creature. He’s good at standing up for himself & gets plenty of fallen food from the feeder. The adults plumage is spectacular when the sun hits it, blues & greens shining, pity they’re so horrible to smaller birds. Yes, I love my collared doves too, we rescued a baby one that was in the middle of the road in the spring & it was a privilege to see the perfect little creature up close.

    So glad you have little Splash to watch & that she’s enjoying the bounty of your garden, funny how things change so much with visitors but there are so many changes in the surrounding area aren’t there with building going on & maybe people putting up new fences with no thought for wildlife getting in or out. My next door neighbour has just had her fence replaced on the pavement side & bottom & effectively prevented any animal bigger than a mouse from getting in or out. Lucky for her our mutual boundary fence has spaces in for hogs to get in her garden from mine. Still not a mouse on my camera by the way, wonder where they’ve all gone.

    You’ve put your finger on the problem with people as a whole, they’ve no connection at all with wildlife. My neighbours were excited a few years ago as they’d been watching this amazing brown bird they’d never seen before in their garden – it was a female blackbird. I think a step back from the life of needing to shop every week for clothes (how do people find the time to wear all those things?!) going out to eat, having lots of holidays & just relax & watch the world around us to see who we share the planet with would help. Pam’s poem is so sad but so very true in all she says.

    My tiny little Mum died last Monday, she was a gentle person who loved animals all her life & she & Dad had quite a few visitors of the hog variety in their gardens over the years. RIP Mum.

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