Our little hog friend of last year hasn't reappeared
2nd July 2017 at 12:36 am #6852
Sorry to hear you have only been seeing one or two hogs, but perhaps it is an endorsement of how good you have made your garden for them that they don’t need to eat artificial food and there are, really, more of them snuffling around in the undergrowth. The thing about here, is that I have been feeding/watering/looking out for the hogs for a very long time and numbers have built up over many years. There is probably more competition for my hog hostelry than there used to be, but generations of hogs must have been coming here and hopefully, some of them will continue to. The interesting thing I have been able to see, with the cams, is that the numbers seen arriving don’t match with those seen leaving. So some of them must be using different routes up and down the garden where they can’t be seen. By no means all of them visit every night and there isn’t always exciting action. Often it is, arrive – eat – drink – leave! I think I may have ‘trained’ them not to arrive too late. If they do, there’s no food left.
My ‘early bird’ hog visitor arrived at 9.09 pm last night. She has done the same other years. Luckily, I had put the food out early, in case. She was looking beautiful after the rain had given her a good wash and her natural colours showed up wonderfully in the daylight. She is a slightly unusual russety colour. I hadn’t seen her the night before and wonder whether she had arrived before the food was out and gave up and left. She must be at least 3 years old now. I wonder whether she is Digger’s daughter, as she has a similar dark face. She sometimes digs through the food a bit like Digger, but not as much and she is not as big as Digger. I haven’t seen Digger the last few nights,but I fear that, if she had hoglets, something might have happened to them, as she has been very interested in the boys when I was seeing her.
The boys are in tearing around mode again. They rush in and eat very quickly then rush off again. Also the usual leisurely drinking has turned into some very speedy lapping. They can lap incredibly quickly if they want to! Sometimes they are so speedy that I don’t have time to see who’s who.
There are beginning to be some very scruffy looking male blackbirds around now. The chap with some white feathers looks as if he might have a completely bald head before long, but it probably won’t be long before they all disappear to moult, etc. Interestingly, one of the females has become very persisitent in trying to get my attention and has really taken over from the boys in that respect. The garden has been full of baby birds – probably more sparrows than anything else, but lots of others too. I love to see them, but the cheeky little sparrows seem to love pulling up seedlings and cuttings! I have had to make a mini enclosure for the plants until they get a bit bigger. The house martins look to be doing ok too. There are four artificial nests on my house and this year they have spread out to some of the neighbouring houses again, too, which is lovely to see. The road is beginning to look like it did years ago, again, with martins swooping around all over the place. They are such cheerful little birds.7th July 2017 at 11:38 pm #6927
Very exciting. First hoglet of the year. A little ball of prickles – very cute. Seems to be independent – arrived on it’s own. I thought I saw a very small hog on the cam last night. Looks as if I was right.14th July 2017 at 10:49 pm #6962
Congratulations on the hoglet! Reading your previous email I see I have a long way to go to catch up with your hog experiences, how lovely you’ve been able to observe them for so long.
As the days go by there’s less sign of any hog activity as far as the food I put out goes. I’ve been putting it out but not seeing anybody & some nights it appears nobody has eaten anything (apart from slugs who have a go every night), I hope you’re right about the garden providing natural food for them. It’s absolutely chock a block with flowers of one sort or another, the best it’s been since I moved here 9 & a half years ago when it was just a mess of overgrown borders & weeds. There are hardly any gaps between the plants but plenty of room for hogs to get around. The water looks messy in the morning so think they’re still drinking from it even if not too bothered with my food. Nobody on camera when I’ve managed to get it going for a few hours after I go to bed.
I’d like to get a battery powered camera for the gate as it’s too far from the house for a cable, which one did you buy as everything I see on line has bad reviews & I’m stuck for what to buy.
My pigeon pal is still visiting, grown into a splendid young bird with beautiful healthy red feet & legs unlike the poor specimens I see in town with bumblefoot & looking very bedraggled in comparison. He/she is still very fond of me!
Dozens of sparrows at the feeder with babies who are also growing up fast & invasions from starlings still disturbing the peace most days. Such an argumentative bird & so noisy!
Look forward to more news of your hog visitors & hope to see one or two here again one day soon.15th July 2017 at 11:16 am #6963
Two hoglets now. I thing they must be siblings. They were arriving very late – I had stayed up late after seeing the cam – but last night they turned up at a reasonably respectable time. One I was convinced was a little boy (Billy) – some of the older females were backing away from ‘him’ – but then the other night one of last year’s hoglets (now grown very big) spent a considerable amount of time circling the poor little thing. So who is the confused one? Is he really Bella? The young adult male is pretty much bottom of the pecking order and doesn’t usually get a look in with the girls, so was he just trying to practice his courting technique on a poor unsuspecting hoglet? I did feel sorry for little Billy/Bella – still not really sure which it is! – the adult must have been at least 4 times as big – a bit intimidating.
These two little hogs have turned up a month earlier than any hoglets last year. Last year all the older hogs treated the hoglets with respect. The hoglets were very good at taking over bowls from their elders, etc. These two seem to be treating the adults with more respect. It is not obvious at all who their Mum is. They have been there, at different times, when all the mature girls have been there and have not reacted any differently to any of them. The adult boys have steadfastly stayed at the dishes when approached by the hoglets. They haven’t biffed them, but also haven’t let them in to share the dish.
The little hoglets arrive separately, (last night an hour apart) but when they meet up they seem to be a bit quarrelsome, (no you’re not having that bit of food – I want it) sort of thing. They are very alike in appearance, although Billy/Bella is a bit more ‘compact’ and has a pale patch above his/her nose. The other one is called Vic – they both have a very pronounced V on their faces, especially on the cam – and Vic could be either Victor or Vicky.
Dear old Digger was back again last night, after an absence of a few days. She stayed for quite a long time eating. I suppose it is possible Bill/Bell and Vic are hers and she is on a second batch – although they don’t look at all like her, but maybe take after Dad.
Sorry to hear about the reduction of activity there. (I feel a bit mean going on about the hoglets). I don’t know what the answer is. It is very disappointing when you have gone to so much trouble. Your garden sounds really lovely. With all those flowers, there should be lots of natural food around for hogs. I do find the cams are not totally reliable. There are loads of times when I have actually seen a hog at a certain time and the cam has not picked it up. They have a bit of a time delay on them – supposedly so they don’t take too many unwanted photos/videos – but, I think the hogs are sometimes so ‘nippy’ that they have come and gone before the time delay has finished. Then when they are eating, maybe they are not moving enough to be detected.
One of the cams I have, I got from Easylife. Their catalogues are often in magazines. They seem to be almost permanently ‘half price’. They are cheaper than a lot I have seen. The first one I got didn’t work, but there was no problem getting it replaced. They take video, photo or both – although, I found, when you do both, the hog has often disappeared by the time it gets to video. The picture is not bad, but better in daylight. The infra red lights seem to be a bit bright and there is a bit of a white area where you have to tilt the computer screen to see if anything is there. If you just want it to see what is coming and going in the area, it is fine, but if you want fabulous videos, maybe not – because of the light. Having said that, maybe not all of them are as bright, or maybe I have it located too close to the ground or something. For me, it serves it’s purpose – it enables me to see the hogs coming and going. It mainly captures the hogs arriving and leaving along the path, but, the other day, it picked up a hog catching and eating a worm on the lawn, which was interesting. That cam doesn’t go through the batteries as quickly as the other one – I use rechargeable ones now – but they only really last a couple of nights. If the battery gets too low at night it still films but with no light – not what you want! – but a lesson to make sure the batteries are charged! I found some of the reviews for the more expensive cams didn’t seem to be any better than the cheaper ones, so, rightly or wrongly, that is why I went for a cheaper one.
Pleased to hear your pigeon pal is still there. I have two regular wood pigeon visitors to the hanging bird feeder, but not friendly like yours. It is amazing enough to see the collared doves balancing on the saucer, but the wood pigeons even more so. The blackbirds are getting extremely scruffy – I am surprised they haven’t deserted to moult yet. They looked very bedraggled in the rain the other day!26th July 2017 at 3:42 pm #7082
Well I like to think you’re right that my hog visitors have found plenty to eat in the borders without resorting to my offerings, occasionally in the last few weeks the dish has been either totally or partially emptied & lots of bits of compost trampled in the dish. Other than that not a sign of anybody at all. I have noticed though that wet nights tend to be the ones a visitor seems to call, nice to get out of the rain maybe.
Massive slugs everywhere, never seen such big ones, total yeuk. I’ve noticed when I leave the mobile phone recording now & again the slug activity suddenly stops long before daylight, seems to be a cut off time for being out & about!
Many thanks for the camera info, have to do some investigating & sort that so I can watch the gate & see who apart from various cats is coming in. RSPB have just offered me 20% off & have a few cameras to compare with the Easylife one which is still on offer. Let you know when whatever I get is up & running.
So much activity in your garden, how lovely. Lots of baby birds here, hysterical jackdaw babies trying to work out how to get at the fatballs & standing on their heads almost looking upside down into a feeder I made. Starling babies not much better but at least a little smaller so less ungainly – just!
My pigeon pal is a feral, rather than a wood pigeon, but very pretty & flaps in my face when I put his/her food on the post. Beautifully marked & so clean.
How is your hog population doing now, specially Digger?26th July 2017 at 8:45 pm #7085
Digger misses a night now and then and gets me worried! But the last few nights she has been turning up like clockwork. It is a bit of a worrying time, at the moment, as there is a building site nearby with great trenches dug. At least one of the female hogs used to go through that garden, so I am so relieved each night when the regulars turn up. I think there might actually be 3 hoglets, it’s just that I have only seen 2 together. That might explain the confusion re. Girls or boys. Still no idea who they belong to.
I left the lawn uncut for a couple of weeks when the weather was warm and it wasn’t growing much anyway. There are loads of clover flowers and it seemed a shame to deprive the bees. Interesting thing was that the hogs instead of rushing up and down the path so much, have been making detours over the lawn and some doing some foraging there. The hoglets, especially seem to have been liking it. So when I did the mowing, I left patches a bit longer and they are still making detours. The birds seem to like it as well, I think probably eating seeds as well as worms. So I think I might start a new regime of leaving different parts long, but not too long. A bit tricky doing the mowing – the lawn isn’t very big anyway – but worth it, I think. They may have been doing the same other years, but I didn’t know about it before the cam was there, so it is doing a good job.
The baby birds are growing fast. The young starlings are beginning to get their spots, and some of them look quite interesting in half and half plumage. I think it must have been a bumper year for starlings here. I have to make sure the poor blackbirds get a bit of food before the ‘flock’ of starlings appear. They are a bit much for the blackbirds en masse. Love your description of the jackdaws doing headstands!
Strangely, I haven’t been seeing so many slugs on my patio, but have been finding dead ones in the water butts. Really yuk! I don’t know how on earth they get in there as the lids are a very tight fit, so they can only come down the guttering. Are there really loads of slugs living on the roof – what a horrid thought.
I hope you manage to get a camera sorted out soon and that you find there really are lots of hogs in your garden, munching happily away on the natural food you are providing for them.27th July 2017 at 7:19 pm #7094
I was looking up about footprint tunnels for someone else and it occurred to me that you might be interested in having a go at trying one. I have always thought they sounded interesting, but have never tried one myself. The links are:
By the way, there are definitely 3 hoglets – I saw all three together last night – one was sharing a bowl with Digger. Not sure if that means anything though, she has always been quite good at letting other girls share.6th August 2017 at 7:13 pm #7200
Thank you for the tunnel info, I had a read & then the postman delivered our new camera!
Set it up last night & this morning watched pics of Frank going in & out of the gate, not a hoggy pal in sight. Still putting dry hog food & a few cat biscuits out every night, all I can do is hope for a visitor. The up side of all this is that you never see little bodies on the very busy roads round here so I’m assuming all the hogs I saw earlier in the summer are all busy in other gardens. Looking again at the photos & videos I kept I can see some of the hogs were very young indeed & some quite a lot older.
I used to use Twitter to follow various hog rescue people but there are such terrible stories & pictures of hurt hogs every day I don’t look any more.
About half a mile up the main road from here at the next roundabout on one of the road signs is a red triangle with a hedgehog in it (been there at least 10 years) so I guess hogs are an established part of the area.
Love hearing about your hogs, how are the hoglets managing, have they got a look in at the dishes lately? Hope Digger stays well clear of the building/digging that’s going on near you, she needs a yellow fluorescent jacket so she can be spotted if she gets into trouble.
Starlings descended yesterday in a cloud, screeching & squabbling, arguing over whose turn it was at the fatballs, scaring the sparrows back into the trees. My pigeon practically landed on my head again yesterday, no finesse at all yet!7th August 2017 at 10:17 am #7203
Good to hear you have got a new cam, but sad no hogs caught on it – yet. But, I’m sure Frank looked lovely in his starring role. Maybe when the hoglets start exploring they may appear in your garden again. What sort of cam did you get in the end? I would be interested to hear how it goes.
I am beginning to think there are 4 hoglets here now. They are growing enormously quickly and keep catching me out by turning up earlier and earlier. They seem to come before any of the adults turn up. It usually goes hoglets – females – males. I have seen 3 hoglets at once (but they usually arrive one at a time), but now their facial markings are beginning to develop a bit more, I am getting to recognise the individuals a bit better. They are a bit inclined to only stay for a couple of minutes at a time, though, and seem to be very good at teleporting in and out of the feeding area! I see them foraging a bit, so hope they are doing plenty of that and not relying on artificial food too much. Unfortunately, at least one of the poor things appears to have been marked.
Talking about poor unfortunate hogs on the road, a friend of mine has found about 4 this year on a fairly short stretch of road – terrible. I think it needs one of those signs. I did talk to someone from our council a while ago, but he said the parish council in the area have to ask for one and pay for it and it has to be only temporary. I think all councils are different about that sort of thing.
Don’t know if you saw elsewhere on the forum that I have been capturing videos of bats on one of the cams. It is coincidently situated near a buddleia and there are loads of moths there. I kept thinking that looks too big for a moth and then it became really obvious they were bats. One of them hovered right in front of the camera. I could see the ears and when it turned round, it’s little eyes. Really nice to see. I knew there were quite a few bats here years ago, but hadn’t seen any recently. Makes up for all the just missed hogs.
The other cam is misbehaving. I keep thinking, I hope the cam caught that and when I look in the morning, there is no sign of it. Very annoying.
Digger is looking positively portly at the moment. I hope it is because she is pregnant and not that she has been over-eating inappropriate food. She is such a lovely hog. Very tolerant of the other girls and will often share a bowl with one. They should beware, though – last night she tipped the bowl up and ended up with food all over her face! Lucky it is the sort that just falls off again. Not sure how she did it, the bowls all have heavyish flat bases. Bet that’s not on the cam – haven’t looked yet.
The water butt blackbird seems to be either ignoring the previously more dominant one or has taken over again because he is there to greet me every morning (and at frequent intervals throughout the day!). He is looking extremely scruffy and I imagine will soon disappear to moult – although I seem to have been saying that for ages! Your pigeon sounds like a real character!14th August 2017 at 2:51 pm #7242
The camera I bought is a Trail Spy Motion Camera from UK Wildlife Cameras, it’s excellent as is yours for daylight & not bad for night, bit dazzly on the subject & not sure where to aim it for the best focus & coverage so still experimenting with the best position. Frank almost seems to be performing for it the way he goes in & out of the gate at night with just minutes between , would love to know what he’s doing it for! Apart from the mouse I mentioned & a couple of cats nothing at all captured, once or twice it’s taken 3 pictures of sweet nothing (maybe somebody moved very fast) & one evening I set it up a bit early & people behind were shoveling gravel their side of the fence & it must have picked up the movement in the gap under the fence as it went off then. It’s set to take 3 pics in succession with 3 seconds delay before going off again. The batteries in it are super duper strong Duracell but I bought some more expensive lithium batteries to use eventually.
Unfortunately my pigeon friend spread the word & brought his/her extended family from far & wide & I’ve had to fit clematis rigid plastic netting over one of the feeders they learned to access today to persuade them to go elsewhere! It gets like a scene from Hitchcock’s film The Birds when they take off together & they eat too much of the food. Pigeon still comes for preferential treatment but I’ve had a word with him about his pals.
A dunnock came & sussed out getting through the netting no problem & I expect the sparrows & starlings will get it soon too. The jackdaws will be a bit miffed as they won’t get in but they can get in the other feeder. They’ve brought their babies here & it’s comical watching the babies trying to get on the fatball feeder or standing on tippy toes on the fence waiting for it to swing in their direction to have a stab at the ball! I only put one ball at a time in it because the jackdaws were eating 10 a day when I filled it….. one is awkward for them to get at so works well as sparrows & starlings manage fine. There’s a jackdaw who looks very old & grey & is extremely grumpy with everybody else, reminds me of General Woundwort in Watership Down somehow. Nobody tangles with him, not even the other adult jackdaws.
Well done getting the videos of bats, we have them flying over here but glad to say much too high for Frank though there are a lot of evening primroses in the garden which would attract moths. Hope they stay up high.
Is Digger still looking large or has she had more hoglets for you to enjoy? Hopefully your neighbours are feeding healthy food & not too much fattening/unhealthy stuff. Bought semi moist Spike today from a shop I didn’t know sold it so it’ll be out every night now just in case rather than the dry stuff I was using which the slugs seem to have finished for me.
How are all your new hoglets, getting big ready for winter I hope?15th August 2017 at 8:09 pm #7253
It took me a while to work out where to put the camera too. To start with I aimed it at the gate, but it was a bit restrictive, so I moved it so it shows lawn, path, flower bed and gate in the distance. It means that I can see more around the white light patch. In between night and day is a bit impossible – looks like a snow scene. I keep wondering whether, if I put it up higher, the light patch might not be so intrusive, but then I would have to aim it downwards, so maybe it wouldn’t make any difference – and I would probably miss out on the bats. My cam seems to be set off with nothing to show for it, too – more than half the time on the lawn cam. The other one seems to be less sensitive, but doesn’t always even notice the hogs! But there still seem to be plenty of vidoes with nothing much on them. Just missed hogs?
I think Frank must be very clever and knows that his photo is being taken – trying to get his best angle.
I was always worried about that with the pigeons here, but mostly, thank goodness, I normally only get two at a time. I see great flocks of them on the fields, so definitely don’t want them getting any ideas! Pigeon definitely needs a talking to – could get completely out of hand! The starlings are bad enough, here, at the moment – they are so noisy and quarrelsome and there are so many of them, that they frighten everyone else away. And when a load of them get into the bird bath together, there is water everywhere. It’s amazing how clever the birds are, at working out new things – specially when there is food involved. Would love to see the baby jackdaws waiting for the fat ball to swing their way so they can stab it. The old jackdaw must be extremely grumpy if he is like General Woundwort!
Sadly, the excessive marker has started up again and some hogs have turned up here with completely unnecessarily large blobs on them. And not only one large blob on each hog, but several. If anyone truly loved hedgehogs I cannot see how they could do that to them – it is so unkind to the hogs. There is absolutely no reason for it, however much some people like to convince themselves otherwise. No-one has the right to interfere with wildlife in that way. Looking at hogs not blobs is so much more rewarding anyway.
The nearby building site has burst into action again after a short lull in activities. It is now decidely hog unfriendly. Broken pipes, torn bits of some sort of fabric, great holes and piles of earth/rubbish, etc. not the sort of place for a hog to be and I just have to hope the poor things give it a wide berth.
The hogs are spending much more time on the lawn, now that I am leaving patches of it slightly longer. I think some of the hoglets have deserted my garden, now they are getting bigger, although at least one is still visiting nightly. They would be well big enough for hibernation already – they grow so quickly. I just hope it isn’t the mealworm feeding place they have gone to (though fear it may be) or the building site. Digger has been absent for about 4 nights now – always a bit of a worry – just hope the reason is hoglets. The other girls are still visting, but there has been a bit of a changing of the guard with the boys – I have been seeeing some that I haven’t seen since the spring.16th August 2017 at 9:08 am #7256
I keep my camera level and about 5-6 inches off the ground. I hate that dreaded white patch. My best camera bit the dust and am using a cheaper acorn. Just not a patch on the one that broke.
Nor young hoglets here at all this year so far, and only have one grown up visitor. That one sleeps either in a feeder in the garden or the feeder by the front door.
Willpar.22nd August 2017 at 7:14 pm #7417
I couldn’t keep my easylife camera on the ground because the dreaded white patch was just too bad if I did. Anyway, it now seems to have packed up (only 6 months old), so it’s just as well, maybe, that Annie got something different. So I am now considering what, if anything, to get next. They apparently can’t replace it because they don’t know whether they will be stocking them again. My other one a Konig (also a cheap one) doesn’t have much of a problem with the white patch, but doesn’t record sound on the video and maybe not quite such a good picture. But at least it’s still working! At the moment.
It is still early for hoglets, yet, so you still might see some. Paints quite a picture of the hog there. Making sure he sleeps in one feeder or the other!3rd September 2017 at 2:29 pm #7550
The camera has been tucked away in the house for a few weeks now as it got so disappointing. Put it aiming a little straighter & the white patch became pretty much unnoticeable, fairly decent photos & the video is not bad at night but when there are only one or 2 cats to watch it gets a bit pointless! I mounted it on a post attached to a base so I can move it round the garden & put it somewhere different every night, only about 10″ high but with the camera as high as it could be fitted. May put it out now & again, you never know who may turn up. Or not…
The hogs have deserted us big time, I haven’t put food out either as having watched it on camera being consumed by just slugs seemed a waste of money, there should be plenty of natural food in the garden & the birds’ water is very accessible to any thirsty hogs. I miss my spiky pals.
The bird feeder with the clematis netting is proving very successful for the little birds, the jackdaws have mostly stopped visiting apart from the few who can manage the fatball, the pigeon & his friends still come but have to satisfy themselves with cleaning up the dropped bits on the whole. Having said that I watched one balancing on the feeder & managing to get its head around the back & snatch a piece before falling off again, there’s always one.
How are your hoglets & Digger these days, still keeping you entertained/worried no doubt?3rd September 2017 at 4:25 pm #7552
I was wondering where you had got to! So disappointed that you haven’t seen any hogs. I was really hoping that with the cam you would see some. It is so strange, when you have your lovely wildlife friendly garden waiting for them. I wonder whether someone has been putting up fences somewhere and blocked their route. Don’t give up. Someone might turn up one night, but I’m not surprised you’re missing them. I wouldn’t like it at all.
Just as well you didn’t get a cam like mine. My second one packed up as well. It also seemed to be a faulty switch. But if the switch doesn’t work it’s not much use. At the same time the other one has gone completely crazy. I was horrified to see 991 videos on it one morning – a very small minority had any hog pics. When the battery gets low the videos get shorter and then it starts flickering. Very irritating. So I had to just pick out random ones to look at and most just got deleted. It seems it started to just keep taking video non-stop until the batteries ran out. There haven’t been quite as many since then and some nights it goes back to it’s normal self – but that means not picking up all the hogs who have visited. Last night was about 600 odd videos, but only because the batteries ran out soon after 11. I have now worked out a system for whizzing through them, but it still takes ages – and half the night’s potential filming is missed. Grrr!
I saw a young pigeon on a barbed wire fence the other day and thought of yours. He/she was swaying around rather alarmingly and at first I thought it was caught. But luckily not – just practising balancing it seems! Do you mean the plastic almost trellis clematis stuff. I have some of that on the fences here and the young sparrows seem to love playing in it. Good idea using it for the bird feeder. I bet you could get some good pics of the birds with your cam.
The hoglets are not so loyal now. There are one or two still coming, but they quite often arrive late so I only see them on the cam. There were two here together a couple of nights ago. No new smaller ones, though.
Digger, thankfully seems to be back to normal again, although last night she made 8 visits in the space of an hour, so I am hoping she might have some hoglets hidden away somewhere, which she is dashing back to check on. She seems to be getting worse than ever at spreading her food around and tipping the bowl of food right over herself! Perhaps in too much of a hurry.
One of the other girls has been missing for about 2 weeks, so, again I am optimistically hoping hoglets are the reason. Most of the big boys have been missing for a while, so Rascal (the one I told you about before) is rather lording it over the place. Not sure how much headway he is making with the girls though. It is getting a bit late for that sort of thing anyway. We don’t really want any more hoglets starting now – they would be likely to end up too light to hibernate.
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