Hogs and Moths Awakening

The first of the 12 rescued hoglets has woken up from her slumber, Heather is nice and healthy, just quite thirsty and hungry. It's always a relief when they finally wake up, a nerve wracking time! This has put us on heightened hogwatch for wild ones, I expect them to follow suit. Petal of course hasn't even gone to sleep! So please be on the look out and leave some food and water out for any that may visit your garden.



The increase in temperatures has also brought more moths out, with some lovely ones being found so far.

Pale Brindled Beauty


Common Quaker




Whilst searching the leaf litter for more species to add to the 1000 species challenge I found this fantastic Rove beetle, here pictured with a Springtail


Also, the last couple of nights, the frogs have started croaking. A quick check of the pond tonight resulted in 9 frogs and 2 clumps of frogspawn!

Quite a good week despite the rain and wind, hopefully things will calm down, the flooding across the country will subside and we can all look forward to spring!

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Hedgehogs are Emerging

The first of my rescued hoglets has woken up from her hibernation this week. The weather has got quite a bit warmer as well, and after seeing reports from around the country, hedgehogs are starting to emerge everywhere. So hogwatch starts again! Who will be next to join Heather and Petal being awake?

When they emerge they will be hungry and thirsty, so please leave out some food, meaty cat/dog food, hedgehog food (such as Spike’s Semi moist or arkwildlife pro), or mealworms and some water.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the PTES run a Hibernation Survey where you can log sightings of hedgehogs. Please join (you need to register by 28th February) and log you sightings, this will help with the study of our sadly declining hedeghogs.

You can find it here – http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/pages/hibernation-survey.html

Whilst you’re there you can also join Hedgehog street, a fantastic initiative to educate people and make gardens hedgehog friendly – http://www.hedgehogstreet.org

Go on – become a Hedgehog Champion and help Britain’s hedeghogs 🙂


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Local Patch Reporter

I’m delighted to say that I’ve been selected to be one of the Local Patch Reporters for the BBC Wildlife magazine. I will be blogging regularly about my patch on here or you can find them, along with all the other Local Patch Reporters, on the BBC Wildlife magazine website – http://www.discoverwildlife.com/localpatchreporters

I thought it would be worth just introducing myself and my patch and let you know my plans for 2014.

I live in South Wales, well known for it’s rain, and I live in a normal suburban housing estate, with a garden 10x10m and another bit of garden by the side. There is a river about 400m away and some small corridors of wooded areas. The garden is designed specifically for wildlife, with log piles, a pond, nest boxes, wildflowers, bug hotels etc, it may look a bit ‘messy’ but it’s teeming with wildlife.

This is an aerial view of my patch:

We are incredibly lucky though, we are privileged to have lots of hedgehogs. These are one of my main passions. I monitor and record the hedeghogs, and last year we had 32 different hedeghogs come through and use the garden. I also rescue and care for the local hedgehogs and am currently overwintering 12 hoglets who were not at hibernation weight when winter arrived. These will be released back to the wild soon.

This is Barnaby, one of the overwintering hoglets:

The garden is rigged with cameras and you can watch these on the Live Cams page. The hedeghogs will be coming out of hibernation soon, so things are about to get busy! That being said, Petal the Hedeghog hasn’t been to sleep at all and can be seen wandering the garden now, if you are lucky.

My blog has lots of info on hedeghogs and encouraging them into your gardens, so please, have a look around.

I am also an avid moth trapper. I take part in the Garden Moth Challenge and last year I caught 310 different species, an amazing amount in a housing estate, and I would like to beat that this year, currently I’m on 3!!

This is one of my favs from last year, a stunning tiny micro moth – Grapholita compositella:

Another challenge for the year is trying to ID 1000 different species in a 1 km square around my garden. I’m going to see how many of these can be found in the garden alone. This is going to be a big undertaking with rather a lot of learning to do! Lots of IDing little things across a large range of flora and fauna.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy following my year around my patch, I’m looking forward to sharing lots of amazing things with you all, plus some ideas of what you can do in your own patch too. I have several plans to update the garden and quite a few projects to undertake, stay tuned and enjoy 🙂


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Meeting and Filming With Sir David

Around about last February I received an email from Humble Bee Films, asking if some of my hedgehogs could be filmed for a new series they were working on. They mentioned it was Attenborough's Natural Curiosities, and having seen the first series I, of course, said yes. They came back with what they wanted to do, close ups of spines etc etc, Sir David holding a hedgehog…… Wait, what? He'll actually be there!! I didn't think for one moment we would meet him, but yes, he'd be there! How could I say no!

I had a lot of autumn juveniles in last year (same this year) so I had a few who would be ok. I decide to take Little Chris (who was found whilst filming Autumnwatch) and the amazing Little John.

The big day came, and off we went. The hedgehogs demanded a rider, so only the best hedgehog food and water for them 🙂 We arrived at the location and walked round the corner, and there was Sir David! He stood up to meet us and shake our hands, I almost went into Wayne's World 'we're not worthy' mode, but I think I managed to utter a vaguely coherent sentence.

They set up the cameras with Sir David and then it was time to introduce the hedeghogs. We popped them where they needed to be and…… Little John stayed curled up…. And still….. And still…..! Sir David was fascinated watching them, he truly does love hedeghogs, you could see the joy! After what seemed like an age, there was movement, Sir David started to speak, and the hog walked straight at the camera! Take 2! This went on for a while, much to Sir David's amusement! He was quite happy lying there just watching them.

After they got all the shots they needed, Sir David then had his photo taken with the stars 😉 He was thrilled to be able to see them so close and interact with them, and I must say Little Chris and Little John were very well behaved!

We had a lovely chat about hedgehogs with him, it was really strange to be answering his questions and him being intent on our answers, I was thinking, what can I tell you that you don't already know!! He was telling us that he didn't have hedeghogs in his garden and couldn't have them because it wasn't suitable. He did miss seeing them in the wild.

He was kind enough to have his photo taken with us and to sign some autographs. My hedgehog logbook, is now signed by him 🙂 He really is as nice as he appears on tv!

Look at the grins !!

The new series of David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities starts on the 18th February on WatchTV. The hedgehogs will be in the second episode, at 8:30pm on the 18th.


Hope you all tune in and watch the new series, especially episode 2 😉

Happy Hedgehogs


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Hogs on TV

I mentioned a little while ago that the hedgehogs had been filmed, well they are going to be on TV Soon. The new series of David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities starts on 18th February on Watch TV. I believe the hedgehogs will be in episode 2. It appears that 2 episodes are shown a night, so the hedgehogs are on 8:30pm on the 18th!

The Eden and Watch Channel website have some links to trailers and pics of the hedgehogs (I may also appear on the website so be warned!)





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A Podcast

I had an interesting conversation on twitter the other day that has lead to me being in a podcast. I'm talking about my views of science after being involved in a couple of Citizen Science projects.

You can listen to it here – Audioboo / What is Science? Part 4

I take part in several schemes and surveys and would encourage anyone to do so.

Some of the ones I do are:

– BTO Garden Watch

– BTO Birdtrack

– Moth trapping records to county recorder, these feed to Buttefly Conservation

– UK Ladybird survey

There are plenty more around, have a go, it's fun and useful!

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The Search Begins

Well, that was a soggy start! Torrential rain all day made all the challenges quite difficult today, so a relatively slow start to the year. But it's a start! The river has been on flood alert all day, so seeing a Heron try to fish was somewhat of a surprise.

18 species of bird, 3 trees, 1 moth and a so far an un-ID'd mushroom and mosquito!

The list so far –

1. Mottled Umber

2. Robin

3. Greenfinch

4. Siskin

5. Great Tit

6. Blackbird

7. Blue Tit

8. Dunnock

9. Magpie

10. Herring Gull

11. Chaffinch

12. Woodpigeon

13. Grey Wagtail

14. House Sparrow

15. Grey heron

16. Mallard

17. Moorhen

18. Alder

19. Beech

20. Oak

21. Lesser Black Backed Gull

22. Jackdaw

Only 978 species and 364 days to go! 🙂


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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 😉 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 🙂

And of course it wouldn't be a proper blog without a hedgehog reference 🙂



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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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