Because our garden hedgehog feeding station is open to the elements, as opposed to being housed inside an enclosed space, with restricted access, I am unable to put out the food until I get home from work. With the nights drawing in it is well over an hour after sunset before I manage to set out the stall for the night. Any attempt at preparing our offerings prior to leaving for work would see the hedgehog buffet quickly devoured by the local Herring Gulls. Now some might be wondering why I offer the food in such an open fashion. "What about cats?" Well; I can happily state that the local felines have learnt to give our garden a wide birth. The aviary used to be a very attractive place for cats, until I purchased some high powered water pistols. That I also have a 1959 Webley Mk III air rifle also aids my anti-cat regime. Of course I don't shoot the neighbours pets, but a pellet hitting the fence right next to its' arse certainly has the desired effect.
I'd been warned of other, unwanted, creatures also being drawn to the food yet have seen no evidence for myself. Gary and Julie use a trail cam to monitor the activity around their feeding station and have, on occasion, seen Brown Rats and Grey Squirrels helping themselves. If this is happening, unbeknown to me, I'm not overly bothered at present. What I do know is if there is any food left over, cum the dawn, then our Herring Gulls are on it like a plague of locusts as soon as there's enough light to see! I'd got the feeding station prepared by 21.50 hrs, this evening, and by mid-night there had been at least five different hedgehogs tucking into the Tesco Kitten biscuits. Bloody brilliant!
An absolute privilege to be able to observe these wild creatures at such close quarters. All of the photos were obtained, tonight, from my study doorway and the hedgehogs are so close as to be on the absolute minimum limit of the Sigma 170 - 500 focal range, hence the lack of focus in the foreground.