Unfortunately, we're still rather busy and finding it difficult to keep up the blog, particularly getting videos, but the hedgehogs have been very busy in the last week.
Although it is still quite cold at night, the days are warmer and the hedgehogs are much more active, and their appetites have increased dramatically - or is it just that they didn't like the last batch of mealworms we bought? Some of the hedgies would eat them, but others took one sniff and walked away. We've now got a new batch from our regular supplier and they are very interested now. I must admit - even we didn't think the previous batch smelled very appetising.
So, to catch up... 9c now has a regular resident - Nightshift, although she did seem to spend one day in 9d, probably because someone else beat her to 9c. We have a regular resident in 9b as well, and we think it could be Alfie, back in his old home - last night the hedgie was doing Alfie's usual trick of eating with his front feet in the mealworms and his back feet in the tunnel.
9a and 9d have been a bit more variable - every night at least one of them has been occupied, but on one occasion there were two hedgies in 9a and on another two in 9d - maybe it's 9d and Flatmate from last year.
9f in the boiler room at the front has two residents. Indy is settled in 9f (left) and another chap is living in 9f (right). They occasionally meet in the hall or outside and have a little shoving match, but they do sometimes visit each others' nest and stay for a while which would seem to indicate that they get on quite well most of the time. Indy also sneaks a quick five minutes in 9f (right) when the other chap is out.
As I write this, Indy is just squeezing out under the door, and 9fr is already outside. They are having a bit of a push, but they're now eating happily together.
Last Friday night, 23rd April, was amazing. The hedgehogs were up and about quite early - it wasn't properly dark. We had two on the patio in front of 9d, one in 9e and three on the atm - all at the same time. Alfie was still in 9b and Indy and 9fr were also visible at the front, so that means there are at least nine hedgehogs in the area, and there must be more, since some of the visitors definitely aren't residents.
About 9:15 pm on Friday I went to close the back door as it was getting chilly, and I heard a lot of huffing. In fact, I heard two lots of huffing. Sure enough - one pair of courting hedgehogs on the patio, and another on the lawn. Of course, both pairs were out of camera shot.
The batteries in the night scope went, and when I came back the huffing had stopped. The pair on the lawn had gone, but the other female was on the patio. I looked for the male - he was on the mealworms in front of 9c, having a snack. He then dashed back to the female and carried on courting. I decided to see if I could rig up a camera on them, but when I came back the female was on her own again - the male was having a drink this time. The female got impatient and started off up the steps, but the male must have heard her, because he went dashing after her.
The hedgehogs seem to be getting hungry, as a few nights ago 9d popped out for a snack about 8:00 pm - a good 30 minutes before they would normally come out. He was eating for a few minutes, then went back to bed. I managed to get a few natural-light shots, although they are a bit blurred as it was getting a bit dark.
9fr snook in at 8 the night before last, too - broad daylight. I carefully opened the front door to try and get a photo, but he heard me and slunk back to bed.
We also had a lovely shot of Indy last night - he was in 9f hall, heading for bed when he just flaked out - he was like this for 11 minutes before he got up and went to bed. I was quite worried - nearly went out to check he was ok.
Finally on the hedgies, here's the clip I mentioned in the last posting, where 9fr comes out - and when he goes, we see Indy's eyes gleaming in the dark as if he was watching.
On to other wildlife - we also love watching the birds, and put up several bird boxes last year, including one with a camera. We were lucky to have a pair of robins in one of the boxes, naturally not the one with the camera. They successfully fledged all six chicks.
This year we moved the camera nest box to the site of the successful nest last year, and put another camera box up at the front. Not a sausage. And then yesterday a real surprise. A couple of visits from robins to the box at the front - then they started bringing nesting material. We were so excited. We've only seen a couple of visits today, so we hope they haven't given up. Keep your fingers crossed.