Unfortunately, we have been rather busy this last week and a bit, which means that the blog has not been getting updated, and we haven't been doing as many captures as we would like. This is a pity, as the hedgehogs have been very active, and we would have liked to have noted more of the information for future reference, such as when the hedgies reappeared.
Of course, the biggest problem is identifying the individual hedgies, and although we are sure these must be the chaps from last year, we can't be absolutely certain.
One certainty is that Nightshift is back! This is her third year in the garden (that we know of) and we were very relieved to see her back. We missed her actual return, but we found a hedgehog in 9c on 7th April. We hadn't seen any more signs, until 9:25pm on 9th April - I was just looking at the hedgie monitors and a hedgehog got up and came out of 9c, and was definitely identified as Nightshift.
She has been living in 9c almost every day since then, although one day was spent in 9d. We suspect this was because she had come home to find 9c occupied! For 2 nights we had Zippy in the garden. This hedgehog was running all over the garden and in and out of the garden for several hours each night. I mean running - just a blur on the cameras. He ran into the decking camera and sent it flying. It was such strange behaviour - he seemed to be searching for something. He didn't pause to eat. I watched him out of the living room window trying to find his way down onto the patio. He looked so cute, peering over the edge of the wall. It was as if he knew he should be able to get down, but couldn't remember how. Eventually he found his way down the ramp - and then Zipped into 9c. He was only in for half an hour before Zipping out again. So, we don't know quite what was wrong and haven't seen the same activity since, so either Zippy has moved on or he has found what he was looking for and has settled down.
In the last blog we noted that we'd had a very dejected looking hedgie sniffing inside 9b as if he couldn't believe there was no bedding in. Well, we put the bedding in - and the hedgie moved in. He's been there most nights, so we think it may be Alfie. He's quite restless at night, getting up, looking out two or three times, before finally venturing forth.
9a seems to have a resident most days - he's just come out as I am writing this at 21:03. It seems that we are fully booked at the moment, with all four nest boxes in the back occupied.
Things have also been very entertaining in the boiler room at the front. Indy was hibernating in 9f (right) and when he woke up he dashed into 9f (left) and actually seems to have made his mind up to live in there. We are getting worried that he is getting rather lazy, as most nights he just seems to get up, go outside for some mealworms and a drink, then wander out of shot for a couple of minutes, then go back to bed. The whole thing then repeats a few times each night.
However, last weekend (9/10 and 10/11 April) he was missing. We thought he hadn't got up, but checking carefully we found he had actually moved out. It seems that he was only having a weekend away, as he returned the next night and has been there ever since. We have only seen him in 9f (right) occasionally, but of late this is probably because he has a neighbour - yes, another hedgie has moved in. This has led to some quite interesting confrontations in the hallway.
I found the one last night quite spooky. The hedgie came out of 9f (right) and had a sniff around and a good scratch in the hallway, then went out under the door. This is all in front of the new camera we have looking along the hall. Then as he went out, you could see Indy's eyes glowing in the IR - he'd been watching the other chap. He went to the door and had a pushing match.
So, that sort of brings us up to date. We have at least six hedgehogs around, since we had six in residence during today. We haven't handled any of them to give them a proper check up, but they all look quite healthy - active, and no signs of ticks. So, let's hope we have a good year and we get lots of hoglets.
All I have to do now is add some of the captures to the blog - we have been having real problems uploading videos to YouTube. It seems to be load - I set some uploading at 1:30 this morning and they uploaded ok. There will be more videos on YouTube than we have here, once they have uploaded.