Looking To 2014

It's been a busy 2013 with lots of hedgehogs! Currently 12 hoglets are with me over winter for release in the spring. A few other things have become a bit of an obsession this year too, and anyone who follows me on twitter will have seen rather a lot of Moths! I took part in the Garden Moth Challenge this year and managed to ID 310 different species of Moth in the garden, I would never of believed that total would be here! 2014 is going to build on these new obsessions!

So looking forward to 2014 here are some of my plans

1. Obviously more hedgehogs! The caring and monitoring will continue with a few more refinements in the pipeline!

2. Taking part in the Garden Moth Challenge again, hoping to beat my marker of 310

3. 1000 species in 1 square km – trying to find and ID 1000 different species in 1 square km. I have chosen my patch, centred round where I live and take the dogs for walks. This is going to be a challenge and a half!!

4. FootIt – the number of species of birds in my patch (by foot) in January

5. Patchwork Challenge – Birds in my patch all year.

6. Garden Bioblitz – I will doing this again this year

7. Blog more often πŸ˜‰ They have been a bit patchy at best this year, hopefully you'll find what's happening interesting. Of course for more instant news follow me on twitter @thelilacgrove

Some of these are new, others are just a way of recording what I always do. Should certainly be interesting and a challenge.

There are a couple of other things in the pipeline that will hopefully come to fruitition, watch this space!

All that's left is to wish you all a Happy New Year, may it be filled with wildlife!


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Golf and Wildlife

I've finally got the ball rolling on my new project. This is just a quick overview to let you know what's happening, there will be plenty more to follow!

My local golf course has come on board with the idea of making it more wildlife friendly. It is already a haven for wildlife with Sedge and Reed warblers nesting in the reeds in summer, and a good selection of Swans and Geese, dragonflies and butterflies too, but there is so much more that could be done. Over the comings months, and probably years, we are going to try and improve this.

The major initial push will be to turn some areas into wildflower meadows. Not only will this increase the biodiversity of the creatures on the course, it also has the benefit of hopefully decreasing the cost of maintenance to the golf club as well, a win win situation. The meeting I had on Thursday was to discuss initial plans and to identify certain areas where this would be feasible. On a walk round the course, it's amazing just how much land this covers. Although it is a balancing act finding areas where golfers aren't likely to go and flatten it whilst looking for their balls! Even though it is a great idea, care must be taken not to upset the paying public and members. Hopefully though, once they see the results, they will come on board even more.

I also will be surveying the course to identify what wildlife is actually there at the moment, should be a good case to get the trail cam out, and then show how much it increases over time. It will be interesting to see exactly what uses it!

Here are a few pics to show some of the areas that will be worked on and also some of the features that already exist. Lots of work to come, but it should be great! Got a feeling this may need it's own blog!! Now to go and draw some plans πŸ™‚

And of course it wouldn't be a proper blog without a hedgehog reference πŸ™‚



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Hoglets Abound

First off, apologies for the lack of blogs recently but life has been a bit manic, so lots of blog posts to catch up on over the next couple of weeks. For more up to date info and news, please follow me on twitter (@TheLilacGrove). There's the potential for some very exciting new projects over the coming months too.

Anyway, here's a bit of an update. The autumn juveniles are making an appearance in numbers now. Over the last 6 weeks, we have had 7 hoglets turn up. George and Gorki are large enough to be ok for the winter, but any found now are going to need to be cared for overwinter. It is very important to keep an eye out for small hogs at this time of the year, and if you see any, please contact the BHPS on 01584 890801 for advice and your nearest Carer.

The last 5 days have brought 4 small hoglets. I assume that they are all from the same litter. These 4 and Henrietta, from a couple of weeks ago will be with us for the winter, and we are on high alert for any more.

Asgaard – Male – 264g

Jessica – female – 264g

Dot – female – 184g

Jezebel – female – 217g

Henrietta – female – 199g

They've all settle in nicely and are doing well. Will be great to see them go in the spring, back to where they belong.

Currently we also have 2 hogs in residence in the hog boxes as well. More on that later, and a whole lot more……..


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State Of Nature Report

I am afraid this is more of a rant and a plea than the normal blog posts I do. The State of Britain’s Nature report came out today. It makes very depressing reading with most animals, birds, insects and flowers in serious decline, and 10% critical. However it is not too late to do something about it. If we all do something, however small, instead of waiting for someone else to fix it, this problem can be helped.

As you will have seen from my blog, I started small, feeding birds, then taking a greater interest in what’s in my garden. It has rewarded me with so many amazing moments, from hatching eggs, to hoglets, to the most wonderful insects, it has really been amazing, and I encourage everyone to do it. No matter how small. Gardens play a huge role in helping wildlife, from food source to somewhere to live. They are vital in the changing environment of modern Britain.

How can we help? Anything you do will help, if everyone does something, imagine how big all those little something’s become!

Some simple ideas

– Feed the birds, from a simple little bird feeder to a bird table or feeding station

– Plant wildflowers, mow grass less regularly

– Leave a patch of the garden go wild (less gardening so easier to manage πŸ™‚ )

– Build a small pond

– Put gaps under fences so hedgehogs can roam

– Join a group like the RSPB, the Wildlife Trust, the BTO or The Hedgehog Society

All of these little things can make a huge difference. I guess most of you do some or all of these already, but if not, do it, and spread the word to people you know who don’t.

Imagine the world without bees, birds, butterflies, hedgehogs, frogs. It would be a much poorer place to live and future generations deserve to see it as it should be.

We can all help, but we must act now before it’s too late. Don’t wait for someone else.

It’s worth it, it’s easy and the rewards are so much more than the effort!

Thank you reading this far…. Rant over πŸ™‚

Here’s a hedgehog for reading until the endΒ πŸ™‚


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Hedgehogs Are Returning

After a very slow start to the season the hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation en masse. All have been a good weight so far, but it's been mainly males so far.

The colour diner is starting to prove quite popular


Love the look he's giving the camera




Joan, she was one of the ones overwintered, and has now been released.

Henry again πŸ™‚

One of the hogs was having a good scratch and got a bit carried away


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Trials Of A Blackbird

Last week a blackbird started to build a lovely nest in the garden, I managed to get a cam on it to watch.

Also got some lovely stills.

All was looking good, then I collapsed

Not deterred, she started to build another nest somewhere else.

Some more snapshots

We even got eggs

Then disaster again, a magpie found it, stole the 2 eggs and then trashed the nest.

She did come back and try to fix it, but seems to have given up.

Hopefully she will try again and have more luck.


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Baby Mice Have Their First Outing

I have suspected for sometime that the wood mice were nesting in the bumblebee box in the insect hotel. I was surprised however to catch the moment when the little ones emerged for the first time. Seems like mum has her hands full keeping them under control!

I like this screen grab where you can see the mum picking up the little one by the scruff of the neck, And then it ends up on her head later on.



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They're Back!

After a long winter, at 11:21pm on 19/03/2013, a hedgehog finally emerged from its winter slumber and returned to the garden! It's great to have them back πŸ™‚



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Review Of New Ark Wildlife Hedgehog House

With the Hedgehogs about to start emerging the time is right to think about gardening for the wildlife, and an important thing they need is housing! I have been trying out the newΒ  https://www.riggmo.no/4183-dno17883-dating-steder-levanger.html Hedgehog House with Hinged Inspection Roof from Ark Wildlife.

I got it just at the end of the season so unfortunately nothing hibernated in it, but a few had a good check out of it. It’s now been outside in all the rain and snow so now is a good time to report on how it got on.

The box itself is quite large, plenty of space for a large hog and an entrance with a baffle to stop predators getting in. The wood is slightly thicker than others I’ve used, so should help insulation, but importantly there are some holes in the back to aid ventilation, this should make a big difference! The lid is also new, it’s made of a material called Ecosheet, which is thick and will also help insulation. The Ecosheet is made from recycled plastic so is great for the environment too, win-win πŸ™‚

The box is very solidly made, with a green Ecosheet roof

The box is fastened with a sturdy latch

Ventilation holes at the back, should help airflow and reduce condensation

The box has feet to help rise it off the floor, there is a slight slope to avoid water collecting in it

The inside is slightly larger to give more space for more bedding to help them keep warmer. There is also a baffle to stop predators getting in

Here it is in situ

The house wasn’t available until quite late in the season, so I got it a bit too late for anything to hibernate in it, but I did get some footage of Harriet The Hedgehog checking it out

Harriet Moves In

Harriet Close Up

Hedgehog In New Box

Hedgehog Checking Out New Box

The box has stayed really dry inside throughout the horrible weather we have had this year, so it seems that the features really do work. I’m looking forward to the hedgehogs using it when they emerge from hibernation. A camera is in it so hopefully more footage to come, maybe even a nest and hoglets πŸ™‚ I will update you on it’s performance over the coming months.

You can purchase it from Ark Wildlife . You can also buy a whole range of wildlife food and products from them.

Hedgehogs And Gardens

When I did BBC Autumnwatch, they asked my to write a blog post for their website about encouraging Hedgehogs into your garden. As the weather is now getting nicer and the hogs will be out soon, I thought I should publish my tips again. This is the full version, the beeb made it shorter πŸ™‚ Hope you find it useful, and may the hedgehogs come!

How to tell if you have Hedgehogs

One of the problems with finding hedgehogs is that they are nocturnal. So, how do you know if you have hedgehogs in your garden? The signs are quite subtle, but once you have your ‘eye in’ they are quite easy to see.

The most obvious are footprints. Although hedgehogs are quite heavy (about 1kg) they don’t leave many footprints unless the ground is really soft. A small mud or wet sand trap is easily set up to see if you get some. The prints are about 2.5cm long and 2.8cm wide. The front toes are quite widely splayed, but the back toes are quite long and slender.

If you see poo around, that is a good indicator! The poo is 1.5-5cm long and 1cm in diameter. They are normally quite dark coloured due to being full of beetles.

Hedgehogs tend to leave slight tracks through the grass of a lawn or small tunnels through undergrowth as they go about their foraging. A good time to see these is in the morning through the dew on the lawn.


Go into your garden at night and listen. Hedgehogs are noisier than you think, and you may hear them snuffling and huffing around as they search for food. In the spring they can get very noisy as they can fight over females.

Gardening For Hedgehogs

If you already have hedgehogs, or want to encourage them into your garden, what can you do?

The first and most important thing is access! A lot of gardens are fenced and there is no way a hedgehog can get in. A small hole under or in the fence will do, about 3 inches is usually sufficient. If you have the option, a native hedge is fantastic, hawthorn etc, make a very good hog friendly border. Hedging provides easy access and shelter for them and other wildlife

Keep parts of the garden a little untidy. Try leaving an area of long grass and some shrubs for hogs to root around in. Piles of leaves, logs or a compost heap can also provide them with a place to nest and rear their young or to hibernate.


Water is a very important commodity for hogs. The best way to provide it is a pond, but, make sure the pond is either shallow, or, has shallow parts, so, if a hog does fall in it can easily get back out again. If that can’t be done, leave out a water bowl!


Put out food for them. Dog/Cat food and shop bought hedgehog foods are great. Dry food is also good, if it is small, such as puppy food, this will last and is good to leave out in the winter in case they wake up from hibernation. They also love mealworms. Don’t feed milk or bread, this will make them ill. Set up some feeding stations for them tucked out of the way or under hedges.


Provide some shelter, hedgehog boxes, compost heaps, piles of twigs, logs or leaves will always be welcome.

Encourage your neighbours to do the same. Gardens are a vital resource for hedgehogs. Consider joining http://www.hedgehogstreet.org and become a Hedgehog Champion.

Dangers to Hedgehogs

– Don’t feed milk or bread, this will make them ill.

– Don’t use plastic netting as this can entangle the hedgehogs and cause serious injuries.

– Slug pellets are very dangerous. Hedgehogs enjoy the odd slug, and any poison they ingest can kill.

– Check compost heaps before turning. Hogs may use them to nest and hibernate.

– Check under hedges and bushes before strimming. Strimmers can cause horrific injuries.

– Check bonfires carefully for hedgehogs. Better still rebuild them before lighting.

– If you disturb a nest please replace it and leave well alone.

– If shed doors are left open over night, don’t suddenly shut them, a hog may have made it it’s home and this will trap them. Check first.

– If a hog is seen out in the day it usually means it’s in trouble. Please contact your local hedgehog society for advice. More information can be found here- http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk