All eggs in one basket

Egg production is slowly increasing, here is today’s haul

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And none of them are thanks to these freeloaders, who have to flaunt their handsomeness in order to stick around

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and Darling remains in residence

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Hedgehogs should definitely stay in bed

The sun may be shining

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The bees may be buzzing

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Young ducks

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may be laying their first eggs

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Buds may be bursting

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and the nights may be bright

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but hedgehogs should still be hibernating.

This little one spends all night looking for food. There at 9 pm

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still searching at 3 am

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and still at it when it is six o’clock in the morning.

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Although Seven degrees is not cold, he has been doing this even when temperatures were as low as one degree. So he should only be coming out occasionally for a top up, not constantly hunting for food. We decide to take him into our care.

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Weighing just 460g he will be fattened up with the other guests to return outside when the real Spring comes. Could well be a previously fattened up hog we released last summer after the drought.

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Avian Valentines

As the sun disappears, after a day of non-stop duty

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and the moon takes over the cloudless sky

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a busy day comes to an end.

Blue Tits have turned their mind to mate attraction, laying claim to desirable residences and shouting about them very loudly.

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“This one is mine”

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This individual

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is probably unaware that its chosen home

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is fitted with a camera inside.

In the trees down the valley

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a Mistle Thrush shouts its claim.

A tortoiseshell is tempted from overwintering in the house to take a trip outside

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and the crocuses

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see if they can open just a little bit wider

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Darling the Starling

Every winter our resident bird population grows a thousand fold

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as the Starlings descend

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taking over the fields

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taking over the trees

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and taking over the feeders

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At the end of every afternoon they head off South-West to roost

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All except one

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Darling the Starling has decided to roost with some of the hens

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It does not seem to have difficulty flying as it heads off each day but it is either deficient or ostracised

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as it is now part of this flock

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Cagney looks on

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Feeding the semi-hibernating hedgehog

During the summer drought our hedgehog population vanished.  In previous years it was not unusual to see five or six individuals visit the feeding bowls.

The parched hard ground made a diet of beetles and worms impossible to find. In addition we had evidence of a very hungry badger (who would also normally feed on worms) increasing its range in search of food – which might well have included hedgehogs. We did care for and release 2 summer hoglets, where their mothers had probably died as a result of badgers or the drought. And this winter we have had two vet referrals living in the hoggery hostel, now semi-hibernating.

As we have a feral cat that does the rounds every night,

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our hedgehog feeder now looks like this

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with a supposed cat-proof maze inside

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We have seen the cat weasel its way through there but it must have had some good hunting as this week it has a try

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and walks away

One never knows when a hibernating hedgehog is going to get up for a quick snack so this week we were pleased to see this had happened

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definitely not a cat

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Last night we got further evidence

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Good to see activity again.