As the nights are drawing in, so the hedgehogs start arriving earlier. Last night the first one arrived at 8:35 pm, tonight it was 8:32 pm. This little chap comes purposefully down the overgrown path at the back of the garden and sticks his nose through the hole in the fence which leads into the garden. You can see the light on his face from the camera which watches the hole from the other side.
Normally, we put a few mealworms on the shallow steps leading up to the hole, and he seems to be looking for them, and not finding any wanders off to see what else he can find.
The next hedgehog arrived at 8:38 pm - and I think it was a different one. We are trying to compile a set of mugshots so we can identify the different hedgies, as several of them look very similar. This one seems to have a dark spot in the middle of his forehead, another one has a stripe.
A couple of night ago, one arrived with a big light-coloured cross on his back - he seemed to have got stuck somewhere. It seems that the marks on the spines only show up clearly in infra-red lighting, and that the marks gradually disappear. One night Nightshift went out with a clear back, and came back with a big circular mark on her spines. It gradually faded and can barely be seen now.
The marks do come in handy for identification purposes. It seems that some people do mark the spines to make it easier to identify the different individuals, but we try and have as little direct contact with them as possible, for fear of frightening them off, although it does seem that they don't get disturbed too much.
Our back garden is quite dark, so we watch the hedgies on the IR cameras or with a night scope we got from Lidl a couple of years ago, but I think we'll be trying some low-level lighting soon, as we would like to get some photos. We've seen some lovely hedgehog photos on other sites, taken with flash, and as this doesn't seem to bother the hedgies we'll give it a go.
So, a little video of the first visitor tonight: