Our little hog friend of last year hasn't reappeared
12th December 2017 at 6:33 pm #8433
Update on hoglet. She was out early this morning 5 a.m. again taking more nesting material into the nest. Not sure what the temperature was but it was forecast to be minus 5 or 6! 5 a.m. seems to be the magic time to start nest building.
A rat has been spotted on the cam a few times – where are all the cats when you need them! Luckily the hoglet was seen eating earlier – so it did get some food.15th December 2017 at 12:29 pm #8439
Hoglet is obviously feeling the need for extra warmth, not surprised at that temperature. Hope the new feeding box is up & running she/he is going to need it I think, specially as she hasn’t yet gone to sleep for a while.
Trying to plan the garden for next year still, the borders are great but as I have peashingle & not grass maybe one of them could have grass sown amongst the flowers then the hogs will like it better. We know they love to forage & having read your reports of them in the longer grass I think that’s the only thing I can do. The garden is very small & floods where the grass used to be thus rendering it a messy quagmire useless for anything except bathing & drinking for birds, hogs & cats but when the weather’s bad enough for flooding they aren’t around anyhow!
Not sure what the flowers would make of that though, might choke them out of the border.
When it snowed last weekend the gravel flooded higher up the garden than I’ve ever seen it, Frank started to gingerly walk through it til he realised how deep it was , flicked his paws, jumped back & went the long way round. All he had to do was jump across it, funny boy. He was heading for my London Pride which is his favourite place in both the front & back gardens to pee!
Hope hoglet is snug now & spending more time preparing to sleep.
Put a new peanut feeder out yesterday as it’s so cold, previous ones have been ignored, today long tailed tits found it. Hope they remember & come back, they make good use of the fatballs so expect they will.15th December 2017 at 6:48 pm #8441
Hoglet was out again last night. Unfortunately she doesn’t appear until late so I can’t make sure no-one else eats the food. She was last seen on the cam just before 1 a.m., which is unusual – normally it is about 6 a.m. So I am wondering whether it really is hibernation time. Either that, or she has moved somewhere else. I will be quite pleased, really, if she has hibernated, as I think rat is getting more of the food than hoglet. The other night (on the cam) rat was having a quick snack when hoglet appeared and rat shot off pretty quick, which I was pleased to see. Unfortunately none of the cats has been seen at the same time as rat.
Sorry to hear about the flooding – must be a nuisance. Have you thought of putting some ornamental grasses in the border as a compromise. Many of them are clump forming. I introduced a few this year into my flower border, as well as some yellow stemmed dogwoods, which you can keep quite small. I am really pleased with them, especially now, when there is not so much else to see. (Although, I have to admit that I originally got them because there was a special offer.) There is a huge variety, some with attractive and tactile seed heads. You could also put some amongst the peashingle. Not sure whether they would mind being water-logged, but worth a try. The roots going down might help to dissipate the water too.
Alternatively, if you are going to put grass seed down, a wild flower mix might be better and give the other plants more of a chance, although, more delicate ‘tame’ flowers might not be able to compete so well. I think even quite small patches help, so maybe you could have a small separate patch rather than mixing them all together. It seemed to me that the hogs liked medium length grass, so they could get through it quite easily, but there were more bugs, etc. in it than if it was neatly mown. Some of the, annual, wild flowers (corn-: flowers, cockles and marigolds, etc.) might not mind the peashingle and they would die down in the winter anyway, so the water wouldn’t be so much of a problem.
Poor Frank – how dare there be water on his peashingle! I keep wondering what colour he is?
I gave up putting peanuts out here. The birds didn’t seem to get through them very quickly (not sure why, as they seem to elsewhere) and I didn’t want them getting mouldy and harm the birds, so kept having to throw some away. I put a fat square out today. It has been nibbled at the edges, I didn’t see who by – I don’t think the starlings have found it yet. They normally descend in the mornings so, I wouldn’t be surprised if by this time tomorrow it is all gone. I have just got stocked up with loads of fat balls for the birds’ Christmas treat. I hope some long tailed tits come here too – such cheerful little things.21st December 2017 at 9:42 pm #8446
Hoglet really needs to snuggle up for winter doesn’t she, let’s hope rat goes away & leaves her in peace to feed in case she’s going to be active for a few more days.
Food for thought with your suggestions re flowers, already have a couple of ornamental grasses. I suppose really my borders are chock a block with plant life & when hogs were visiting they spent most of their time bumbling around in there so am probably trying too hard to fit too much into a very small garden. Just frustrated at the lack of hogs after such a good start to the year. Still thinking about it all & what to change in the Spring though.
Flooding isn’t too much of a problem with the gravel, it was much worse when it was scrappy grass as it was a quagmire of mud most of the time. At least the gravel seems to drain quickly leaving a surface that’s easy to cross by me & animals. Have seen birds in the past using it when flooded as a bath, rather nice to see as it looked as if they enjoyed it better than a man made bird bath. Having said that there’s nothing like watching a load of starlings or sparrows bathing together in the bird baths, taking it in turns to be the one in the middle!
Frank is a brown tabby, he has stripy legs & tail, his body isn’t really very stripy at all, it looks as if when they painted his stripes on they ruffled his fur before it dried is the best way to describe him. He has a butterscotch belly & the most beautiful face with a white chin & cheeks where his whiskers grow.
Quite a tall cat, very lean muscled, long tail, handsome little devil. Everyone round here knows his face but he doesn’t go to anybody except us as he had a bad start in life living rough under hedges & learned not to trust people. Sensible lad. He has us under his thumb, well trained in all ways!
Hope your little hog stays safe, have a lovely Christmas. x23rd December 2017 at 10:36 am #8450
Well the question is, is hoglet going to be a Christmas hedgehog. She was here last night briefly after 4 a.m., but neither I, nor the cam saw her at all the night before. I don’t think she is using the hog box now – recently, the last sighting each night has been her disappearing down the path. She was seen going into the entrance of the new feeding box, but turned straight round and came out. The cam hasn’t caught any other activity there but someone has been in, as one day the food was disturbed, but if any of it went it wasn’t much. I have put kitten biscuits in there, in the hope rat wouldn’t like them. Hoglet isn’t used to them here, but I thought she would eat them if she was really hungry.
Good luck with the garden – like you say, sometimes it is better not to try too hard to fit too much in and the hogs did like it before.
I imagine Frank being a bit like Thomas O’Mally from the Aristocats. He sounds a lovely cat.
I hope you, too, have (or maybe had by the time you see this) a lovely Christmas and Happy New Year.8th January 2018 at 3:43 pm #8472
Just read your missive to Penny about your hoglet still being active, surely one of Digger’s offspring to show such initiative & resistance to cold weather! Your second box has obviously been a life saver.
Have spent last 2 weeks in bed with a vile lergy, just beginning to recover enough to put the laptop on & see what the rest of you are up to.
Lot of bird activity, keep the water clear every morning when I feed them as my way of fighting back at my bug – going out no matter what the weather as the wildlife have to – & breathing some clean air.
A yellow rose in a neighbour’s garden is in bud, my hebe & escallonia flowered again when I cut them both back a little in autumn & the escallonia has only just decided to start to stop flowering. Hope some insects have been able to take advantage of them, hebe still going strong.15th January 2018 at 6:59 pm #8476
Apologies for the delay replying. Sorry to hear you had the dreaded lergy. Hope you are feeling better now. I think you are right – it’s good to get some fresh air, even if you are feeling grotty. It’s interesting what is coming into flower, but I suppose it has been such strange weather with some quite mild spells. I have some crocuses beginning to flower already, before even the snowdrops. It is nice, though, and makes me think Spring really is not far off now.
The birds are chomping their way through lots of food, rat hasn’t been seen for about a week (it’ll probably be back tonight, now I’ve said that!) and none of the cats has been seen going into the new feed box. Hoglet has been here every night. Loads of clips of rear end of hoglet (am beginning to recognise her back legs!) going into either the feed box or her nest box, but still not sure whether she is staying there for the day. I’m really pleased she has taken to the new box so well. The only time I got clips of her coming OUT of boxes was when the cam went wrong again the other night and was taking non-stop clips. About 360, so not as bad as in the Summer. Hoglet sometimes arrives about 11, but seems to know if I have decided to stay up late to see her and always arrives later those nights, so I have pretty much given up and rely on the cam. Also, I sat and looked through loads of back to back clips when the cam went wrong, waiting for her to come out of the feed box, only to next see her arriving through the arch onto the patio. Not sure how she manages it!
I am thinking that she must be Digger’s too. She has quite a dark skirt like her and although she has a paler face, is beginning to get a bit of a shape of Digger. Also there weren’t really any other females left around so late. I will have to think of a proper name for her soon! Although I’m not 100% sure she is a she.
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