Monday, 29 March 2010

Indy Ventures Forth!

We were very excited last night to get our first sighting of Indy in 9f, as he zipped from 9f (right) where he had been hibernating for almost five months, into 9f (left).

Later on he nipped out for a quick snack of mealworms. He must be very hungry, so we were surprised he wasn't eating for so long, but we suppose it takes a little time to get his little body fully operational after being shut down for so long.

This was actually his second excursion, and he made a third one later in the night:

Just after he went into hibernation we put an extra camera inside the boiler room, but never had anything to test it on. We found last night that it wasn't very well positioned, so we changed it today, so it now looks across the whole front of 9f, inside the door.

We were rewarded with this lovely shot of Indy coming out of 9f (left) and having a good sniff. He obviously wasn't too happy with what he smelled, because he turned round and went back to bed. Hopefully he'll be out later for a good meal.

Hedgehog activity is slowly building in the back garden, although most of it is concentrated around the ATM - none have ventured onto the patio yet.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Indy's Made It!

We had great news tonight - Indy, the indecisive hedgehog who couldn't decide whether to live in the left-hand or right-hand nest box in our boiler room, made his first appearance after hibernation.

We were fairly certain he had hibernated in one of the two semi-detached nest boxes, as we saw him go in on November 2nd 2009, and we hadn't seen him come out. We couldn't be sure, since we hadn't checked all the movement trigger captures, and the cameras had been blind during the heavy snow over the winter. But, we liked to think he was still in there, and tonight we got our first sighting. It was only a few seconds - if you blink you miss him - but, true to form he's changing from 9f (right) to 9f (left). We don't think he's been out yet, but there's a bowl of mealworms and some water just outside, waiting for him, where they have been all winter - but not the same ones, I hasten to add - the local blackbirds and robins have been helping to clear them.

Things have been getting busy in the back garden as well. The first couple of days there only seemed to be a single hedgehog, with only one visit per night, but the number of visits has been increasing over the week, and there are definitely several hedgehogs visiting.

Most of the visits are still quite short, and most of them are only coming into the garden and standing at the ATM eating mealworms. We've only seen one visitor come as far as the edge of the lawn, and none have come down on to the patio where the three large nest boxes are. In most of the visits the hedgie comes down the alley, has a feed at the ATM and goes back up the alley, so it seems they are just coming for the known food source.

All the visitors look in good condition, very active, with no sign of ticks after the visitor on the first night. Their spines all look in good shape with none of the marks we used to identify them, so we can't say for certain if any of them are our regulars from last year, although they must be. We've seen no sign of Nightshift, and we think we would recognise her, but the others do seem to be smaller hedgehogs, so perhaps they are running short of reserves sooner than the somewhat "chunky" Nightshift.

We haven't been posting many videos yet, as there has been no real action, but hopefully things will start to get interesting.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

They're Back!

Welcome to the first post of 2010 - so, as you may have gathered, it means our hedgehogs have emerged from hibernation - or at least one has.

We saw the first little chappie at quarter past midnight on 21st March, and when we checked the previous night's captures we found he had appeared at 3:30 am on 20th March, and he came back a little later.

Here's the first sighting, coming down the alley:

And here he is, munching away on the mealworms:

A hedgehog has visited us several times each night since. We think it's the same one, but we can't be sure. The first hedgie has a projection between his eyes - we think it's probably a tick, and he seems to have several more ticks, but they don't seem to be in evidence since the first night. It may be a different hedgehog, or he may just have got rid of the ticks.

We don't know where the hedgehogs have been hibernating, but we think they were probably under the garden sheds in some of the other gardens.

We are very relieved that at least one has made it through the worst winter we've had for quite a few years. The hedgehogs hibernated earlier than last winter, and have appeared earlier - it was 1st April last year before our first sighting.

We did see one article on the web saying that it has actually been quite a good winter for hedgehogs, because the steady cold weather had meant they hadn't been brought out of hibernation early by warm spells.

At least this chap looks quite healthy - he's eating away and seems to be quite lively. He's one of the regulars, as after his mealworms on the ATM he went along the back of the garden and out under the decking. We wonder if it is "Visitor", the last hedgehog to hibernate, as this was his pattern, never coming right into the garden.

So, let's see how many of the others appear. We hope Nightshift has made it, as we know she came through hibernation last winter, and we have grown rather attached to her.

In theory, Indy is still hibernating in 9f (the boiler room). He may have sneaked out when we weren't looking, but we'll find out soon. We haven't checked the nest box since he stopped appearing in Otcober as we didn't want to disturb him.

So, our friends have returned. They do seem a little later than some of the other blogs we follow - Snufflehog saw his first hedgehog nearly a fortnight before us, and Midmarsh John's hedgehog has returned, and they seemed to hibernate long before ours.