They are back!

I love nature, but I live in a town where everybody more or less hates nature. All gardens are replaced by stones, which I sadly witness.

My neighbours complain about my trees and have their windblowers ready to battle against the evil leaves when the autumn comes close.

But the hedgehogs are back! And they are not the only creatures in my 1000 m2 garden - I save some pennies to buy a nightcam later.

Here the - supposedly couple is:

Original Post

Good for you Mr Ardbeg. Hedgehogs need all the help we can give them. We do get them in our garden, but as we're both early to bed, early to rise types, we seldom see them. I've one of these infra-red cameras which, when I remember to set it up, usually captures the little creatures as they snuffle about. Our nearest big town, Ipswich, has appointed a full-time hedgehog officer to promote their preservation, and encouraging folk to give them gaps in their fences so they can forage from garden to garden.

Innocent Bystander posted:

Nice size garden. I have similar size garden, but no evidence of hedgehogs - which is a pity because there are enough slugs to cause obesity, and the vegetables would appreciate them.

Indeed. I've seen a bunch of slugs eating a crop of lettuce, it was gone much faster than I ever expected. I've learned to see the need for various species so that it all balances out nicely.

My garden has many hedges, maybe that's why they are here.

Richard Dane posted:

I haven't seen hedgehogs around here in many years.  We do have plenty of badgers though - more than I can ever remember, which may explain why the dearth of hedgehogs.

It was nice to see a badger in my environment - not garden - for the first time. When I grew up, they were not around and thanks to a bunch of volunteers they are back in the Netherlands now.

I get them in the garden every year & frequently get some good sightings,  even had a mating, a noisy affair & a lot of chasing around.  This year we started to think they wern’t around & wondered If the late winter easterly beastie thing had finished them off.   Then I started to see fresh hedgehog droppings so at least they are around.   Finally got to see one 2 weeks ago, we heard snuffling noises, turned the patio lights on dim & there he was.      

Richard Dane posted:

Unfortunately, if you have badgers in the area then the hedgehogs will be high up on their preferred menu and the hedgehogs will try to avoid the area.

This explains why I don’t see badgers or hedgehogs in my garden because what I’ve seen are a couple of foxes from time to time 

We have 3 at the moment (identified from the videos). We put “proper hedgehog food” out for them every evening, and have two “hedgehog houses” which have been used by them this season.

I have two complaints though.

1.hedgehog poo on lawn meets rotary mower.....splateroo!

2. The little sods won’t eat the slugs! I suppose you can’t blame them...given the choice of gourmet HH food or a slimy slug, which would you prefer? 😃😃😃

ayap1 posted:
Richard Dane posted:

Unfortunately, if you have badgers in the area then the hedgehogs will be high up on their preferred menu and the hedgehogs will try to avoid the area.

This explains why I don’t see badgers or hedgehogs in my garden because what I’ve seen are a couple of foxes from time to time 

Not totally convinced on this,  I have no doubt that badger on hedgehog predation does happen but it should end up in some sort of balance.  The area that my house backs on to is an open grass hill with dips & dales, trees & rough sometimes dense scrub;  ideal for the badgers & foxes that we see around & (according to my garden) a few hedgehogs as well.

We have the pleasure of a rural location that would seem ideal but in recent years hedgehogs have become a much rarer sight, alive or flat.

We have however had the company of two leverets just outside the bedroom window for several weeks appearing almost every morning and evening, sometimes accompanied by one or other shaggy parent. We see adults a lot of the time around us but this is the first 'family' we have had in over 15 years at the house. As you may gather from my avatar I think they are magnificent animals.

We have a lot of curlews at home too, despite national populations falling sharply we have had no obvious drop in numbers. We log the arrival of the first one each spring as a harbinger of the season. Their call as they flutter overhead is one of the loveliest sounds.

Bruce

 

The way local species' populations wax and wane over relatively short periods of time's rather fascinating. We've lived in rural Suffolk for twenty-three years now, and watched as the large hare population was decimated when the buzzards moved in & picked off the leverets in the open fields, until the hare population learned to stick rather more to the overgrown field edges. Hares are now almost back up to their previous numbers, yet the buzzards are still here. The Rabbit population's subject to the awful effects of myxomatosis once it grows to a certain size. Lots of badgers around here now, similarly the deer, once an unknown sight, are now very common, both roe and muntjac. We seldom see foxes, yet they sneak into our garden most nights when the weather's dry (as it often is here - no rain for ages, none forecast), captured on the IR camera drinking from one of our ponds, along with the badgers.  We used to see the occasional small flock of Canada geese in the meadow next to us, but these have been supplanted by an-ever increasing population of greylag geese. 

We've done our best to encourage all forms of wildlife, with two ponds both with shallows so birds and other creatures can get a drink or a wash; oak, walnut, horse chestnut, and ash trees, and various areas allowed to grow wild (well' that's my excuse anyway!)

tonym posted:

We've done our best to encourage all forms of wildlife, with two ponds both with shallows so birds and other creatures can get a drink or a wash; oak, walnut, horse chestnut, and ash trees, and various areas allowed to grow wild (well' that's my excuse anyway!)

I'm in the same club, I'm afraid, though when my neighbour commented that my back garden "looks like a country meadow", I took that as a compliment. 

tonym posted:

The way local species' populations wax and wane over relatively short periods of time's rather fascinating. We've lived in rural Suffolk for twenty-three years now, and watched as the large hare population was decimated when the buzzards moved in & picked off the leverets in the open fields, until the hare population learned to stick rather more to the overgrown field edges. Hares are now almost back up to their previous numbers, yet the buzzards are still here. The Rabbit population's subject to the awful effects of myxomatosis once it grows to a certain size. Lots of badgers around here now, similarly the deer, once an unknown sight, are now very common, both roe and muntjac. We seldom see foxes, yet they sneak into our garden most nights when the weather's dry (as it often is here - no rain for ages, none forecast), captured on the IR camera drinking from one of our ponds, along with the badgers.  We used to see the occasional small flock of Canada geese in the meadow next to us, but these have been supplanted by an-ever increasing population of greylag geese. 

We've done our best to encourage all forms of wildlife, with two ponds both with shallows so birds and other creatures can get a drink or a wash; oak, walnut, horse chestnut, and ash trees, and various areas allowed to grow wild (well' that's my excuse anyway!)

Odd isn't it. We have virtually no buzzards around us yet see them in great profusion in other areas such as N Wales where they appear incredibly common. We have lots of sparrowhawks, kestrels and now short-eared as well as barn, tawny and little owls have been seen close to home. Hen harriers last year too.

Living next to water we see very fluctuating populations of kingfishers. We have not seen a single one this year near to home, yet this time last year would almost never fail to see one when walking or paddling along the canal.

Our big hope now is for water voles, recently re-introduced nearby. Have not seen mink for many years so fingers crossed. Since our section of canal may well be closed within the next 1-2 weeks due to water levels we might see lots of wildlife later in the summer-not that leisure traffic seems to really disturb that much.

Bruce

 

  

Magpies ?   I live in a semi rural area, and have always noticed the odd one or two on the outskirts. Recently there has been a major turf war going on with large numbers taking over everywhere, with one taking on the wood pigeons nesting in the garden.

Listening to the lovely tune the blackbirds used to do sitting on our fence is now a distant memory, replaced by that evil chatter from the magpies.

Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Odd isn't it. We have virtually no buzzards around us yet see them in great profusion in other areas 

My area had virtually no buzzards before 1980, maybe an occasional one along the Ox/Wilts ridgeway, & most of these sightings were to the west (closer to the established Wales/Somerset population)    Now we see them all the time.  Last spring I watched our local pair + one of lasts years young circling & another pair closing in to join them,  lots of swooping & calling eventually coming down to treetop height,  a sky full of buzzards & all viewed from my garden.  The repopulation spread into the area is all natural after years/decades/centuries of 'control' by the farming/gamekeeping/shooting fraternity;   they were (still are) considered as vermin,  the belief that they kill lambs still exists, but no doubt they do take young birds & if you are raising pheasant ready to be exterminated with a 12 bore I don't doubt its a problem.       

The classic UK extermination of a bird population was Red Kite;  I was involved in the Chilterns reintroduction in 1989/94,  they've now spread all over the area & way beyond.   They were exterminated because, like buzzards, they "killed" lambs.  Truth is they are carrion eaters, the old traditions of outside lambing with birthing smells & the occasional still born was all too much for hungry kites (& buzzards),  hence angry but misguided farmers.   

Tobyjug;  its the same with your magpies,  farmers trapped & shot them as vermin because they predated on game bird chicks & it became a tradition for all farmers to kill them.  They are now back to a more or less natural population,  but they are magpie & nature intended them to take young birds.  Its fascinating watching them mapping out the area for songbird nests & waiting for them to hatch before they raid them.   We now have smarter songbirds,  although my resident blackbirds seem to be not so smart as they have not had any young yet & are now on there 3rd attempt.  

My nearby RSPB reserve is Otmoor.   Its amazing how nature takes over given the right conditions;  it used to be boggy river flood land & RSPB took it over in 1997 & since then have cut out permanent water channels, scrapes & isolated islands for protected nesting.   Apart from its intended use of over wintering for waterfowl (like thousands of them) ,  we see Merlin, Peregrine, Turtle Dove,  Marsh Harrier  (we have pairing activity this year so fingers crossed)  we have nesting Hobby,  & boom-boom, (pun intended) nesting Bittern.   All these are naturally repopulated new to the area bird species,  just provide the right conditions & nature does the rest.   

Mike-B posted:
Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Odd isn't it. We have virtually no buzzards around us yet see them in great profusion in other areas 

My area had virtually no buzzards before 1980, maybe an occasional one along the Ox/Wilts ridgeway, & most of these sightings were to the west (closer to the established Wales/Somerset population)    Now we see them all the time.  Last spring I watched our local pair + one of lasts years young circling & another pair closing in to join them,  lots of swooping & calling eventually coming down to treetop height,  a sky full of buzzards & all viewed from my garden.  The repopulation spread into the area is all natural after years/decades/centuries of 'control' by the farming/gamekeeping/shooting fraternity;   they were (still are) considered as vermin,  the belief that they kill lambs still exists, but no doubt they do take young birds & if you are raising pheasant ready to be exterminated with a 12 bore I don't doubt its a problem.       

The classic UK extermination of a bird population was Red Kite;  I was involved in the Chilterns reintroduction in 1989/94,  they've now spread all over the area & way beyond.   They were exterminated because, like buzzards, they "killed" lambs.  Truth is they are carrion eaters, the old traditions of outside lambing with birthing smells & the occasional still born was all too much for hungry kites (& buzzards),  hence angry but misguided farmers.   

Tobyjug;  its the same with your magpies,  farmers trapped & shot them as vermin because they predated on game bird chicks & it became a tradition for all farmers to kill them.  They are now back to a more or less natural population,  but they are magpie & nature intended them to take young birds.  Its fascinating watching them mapping out the area for songbird nests & waiting for them to hatch before they raid them.   We now have smarter songbirds,  although my resident blackbirds are not so smart as they have not had any young yet & are now on there 3rd attempt.

My nearby RSPB reserve is Otmoor.   Its amazing how nature takes over given the right conditions;  it used to be boggy river flood land & RSPB took it over in 1997 & since then have cut out permanent water channels, scrapes & isolated islands for protected nesting.   Apart from its intended over wintering for waterfowl (like thousands of them) ,  we see Merlin, Peregrine, Turtle Dove,  Marsh Harrier  (we have pairing activity this year so fingers crossed)  we have nesting Hobby,  & boom-boom, (pun intended) nesting Bittern.   All these are naturally repopulated new to the area bird species,  just provide the right conditions & nature does the rest.   

Nice post Mike.

The wildlife in my area, where there are many trees and nooks and crannies to hide/live in, appears dominated by often rowdy (should that be randy!) foxes, pigeons and crows. Welcomingly, I have seen more hedgerow birds like sparrows this year, with some offspring. The foxes reproduce on a regular basis as evident from the cubs which run around my garden but their numbers appear constant, as mange and injuries (infighting?) seem to take a heavy toll. Sadly, they go after the fledglings (esp. the pigeons), as do the crows it seems. 

Managing effective feeding of the smaller birds is a challenge as the grey squirrels seems to be able to access any bird-feeder I use, and if they struggle, the pigeons get in on the act. The local cats seem uninterested in the birds. 

When I moved in many years ago, there were a few hedgehogs but these seem to have disappeared, much to my disappointment, even though I think the habitat, perhaps bar the foxes, is OK e.g. there are plenty of accessible gaps around and under the garden fencing, some scooped out by the foxes. Such a shame.  

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