Thursday, 24 September 2009

Just like buses

After the initial flurry of activity as the hedgehogs got up, nipped to the loo (yes, they do that when they first get up), had a drink and something to eat and went about their business, it seemed very quiet in the garden last night. There was the odd visitor, but not much happening at all. Then, just like buses, four turned up at once!

The tunnelcam view shows that one chap (probably Flatmate) was sitting in the tunnel and got up when the others arrived. I like the way little Alfie looks over his shoulder as Flatmate comes out.

The same happened on the patio later on. Alfie appeared in front of 9c and had a munch. He moved on, then a minute later up came another chap, followed by Nightshift getting up to see what was going on.

Although the little chap was defensive when Nightshift came out, she allowed him to share the food bowl, so maybe he was one of hers. She did get a bit stroppy with him later, but not as bad as we have seen.

9c had another visitor while Nightshift was out (luckily for him he'd gone before she came back). There was also a visitor in 9d, while little 9d was out. This was a large hedgehog, almost the size of Nightshift, so we think it could be the other female we've seen visiting sometimes. We seen her in the alley quite a few times, and she has been in the garden, but it's the first time on the patio.

I tried another camera last night - another eBay special. I had it on the patio to the right of the 9c/9d Patio2 camera. The extra IR has caused the bowls and the steps to "burn out" and you can see an extra shadow behind the hedgies, in the same way as the tunnelcam has affected the camera outside 9a. This is a "long range" camera with the IR coverage "up to 10 metres" and its own images are burnt out on the hedgehogs a few inches in front of it. I did get it for greater coverage, so that is to be expected. We will try it along the length of the patio tonight, as none of the other cameras have been able to cover the whole patio so we can see what they are getting up to.

We'll have to review the feeding situation again. We put a second bowl in front of the tunnelcam last night, and it meant that Alfie and Flatmate could both eat without too much pushing and shoving, but they managed to empty both bowls. The other bowls were also just about cleared as well. I feel we may not have enough water on the lawn, either, as both bowls were dry this morning - hedgehogs certainly drink a lot, particularly after dried mealworms. There are three other large water bowls on the wall, but we only had one visitor last night, so the hedgies either haven't found them or are too lazy to walk to them - or maybe they just aren't thirsty.

In the spring we did have one hedgehog coming for a couple of weeks just for a drink. He came in under the decking, walked directly across the middle of the lawn, past two bowls of mealworms, and had a drink. He then retraced his steps. We never saw him eat anything, but he always had a good drink.

Finally, as shot of the aftermath of hungry hedgehogs - hungry starlings:


  1. The burn out with IR lighting is a problem. The camera I am using has something like 32 IR LEDs as it is meant for surveillance.

    After reading HogBlog a while ago I have gradually put pieces of black insulation tape on the glass in front of the LEDs until I got it a good as it would go but nothing stops the overload when the hog is really close. That is the problem with cameras which have the lighting surrounding the lens.

    As I only have one area to cover I also rigged up a couple of 12V warm white LED 'bulbs'. They are under 2W but allowed the camera to retain some colour. The lamps are in a waterproof perspex box.

  2. It's difficult to know how well the cameras work until you get them set up. We were disappointed with the first ones we got as the IR range was very short and we couldn't see the hedgies moving round the garden, but then we realised it's more interesting to get the close-ups and those cameras are quite good for the close shots, except that the focus is way out on some of them. It seems that most of the cheaper/smaller cameras have screw-in lenses so they can be focused - it's just a matter of opening the waterproof housings, which is not easy on some models.

    I did try a tiny non-IR LED camera to use inside one of the nest boxes, using the illumination from the other camera, but the non-IR camera wasn't sensitive to IR.

    I got a couple of very small indoor IR cameras (less than £10 each) and found that the IR LEDs aren't working on one of them - but it seems just what I need, so I'm hanging on to it.

    I'll have a go with the tape as well.