Bathing

Watching a pigeon trying
to bathe in my mini pond
takes me back in time
to when I bathed babies
in the washing-up bowl!

Wildlife Restaurant (Elfje Sequence)

Wildlife
Restaurant open
twenty-four hours.
Come, eat and drink.
Welcome.

Morning.
Sparrows twitter
at bird feeders,
splash in mini pond.
Joyful.

Afternoon.
Mouse darts
from under shrubbery.
Warily nibbles fallen seed.
Opportunistic.

Dusk.
Three hedgehogs
eat from bowl,
drink from mini pond.
Disperse.

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Hedgehogs

I have mentioned previously that we have a visiting hedgehog and that he is part of the reason that I have created my mini pond (which you can read about here). I have not seen him every evening, but then I don’t spend all evening looking out for him. What I have noticed however is that he makes a beeline for the bird feeders.

One of the things I regularly put out at the bird feeding station is mealworms and I had taken to sprinkling some on the ground for the ground feeding birds. This is what the hedgehog was after, the ones missed by the birds! Hedgehogs love mealworms and although there is some benefit to hedgehogs from eating mealworms apparently eating too many is bad for them. One evening I managed to take a photo of him although it is not very good and a bit out of focus. Spike, as we have come to call him, obligingly stood still (or should I say froze in fear) and scuttled away as soon as I backed off.

Hedgehog Spike

Spike the hedgehog

Last Wednesday whilst shopping for more bird food I noticed some hedgehog food on the shelf nearby so I bought some. I put a small quantity out that evening. When I looked out later there was my hedgehog ambling away from the feeders. I did not see him feeding and I could still see feed in the bowl I had placed nearby, where I was sure he would find it. In the morning it looked as if some of the food had been eaten but quite a bit of it was still there.

So last night (Thursday) I put out some more hedgehog food in the same place. When I looked out after dusk, just as it was going, dark, I saw a shadow by the bowl, so I quietly opened our French Window to get a better look and could hear a small crunching sound. A hedgehog was eating the food. I quietly shut the door again and carried on watching. Soon I saw another shadow and a second, bigger hedgehog ambled round the back of the bird feeders and went to share the bowl with the first one – mother and offspring? They ate for a while together then the larger one trundled across the lawn towards the fence. The smaller one carried on eating for a while longer before following the same route and I stopped watching.

Later, just as I was about to go to bed I decided to look out again and as I did another hedgehog appeared at the bowl of food and stayed for a couple of minutes polishing off what little bit remained. Then, much to my delight he bumbled his way the few feet through the rockery and down to my mini pond where he stayed to drink for a minute or two before trundling off in a totally different direction to the first two. Success, my pond, created with the hedgehog in mind, had been discovered!

Then my thought was; have I got two or three hedgehogs? Was the later one the larger one returning or a different one? Which is Spike? Since the one on its own was a good while later in its visit and approached and left in different directions to the first two, who had come together, I’m inclined to think that it is a third hedgehog and this was probably Spike. I find this especially exciting as hedgehogs are considered to be in decline, yet here am I with at least two and probably three visiting my garden. I’m thrilled to bits!

Site content copyright of Elizabeth Leaper (Libby).

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