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.