Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Thursday 2 September 2021

Having time

 I'm starting to get to grips with this retirement lark, enjoying the freedoms it allows me. Although I'd never consider myself a gardener, there is no denying the pleasure I'm getting from just pottering about, ensuring the hanging baskets, pots and the flower bed beside the front door are as well presented as I can make them. Keeping the lawn in trim has, until now, been the limit of my involvement with such activity. Just by being out in the garden has meant that I'm more aware of the wildlife that is in the vicinity, be that insects, birds or mammals.

On 29th August I recorded six Swifts (5 + 1) all headed W, in a short time between 09.47 & 09.54 hrs and really thought that they'd be the final sighting of 2021. Not so, as I've just seen two moving N, into a moderate breeze, at 16.36 hrs today, these being my first September, garden, records that I can recall. However, the avian highlight occurred this morning, whilst I was outside twatting about with some recycled pallet wood. At 09.35 hrs the gulls went mental and I realised that my binos were still in the back of the van, as I'd been fishing last night. I grabbed the key, from my study, and rushed to the front of the bungalow just in time to watch an Osprey flying deliberately W, flapping steadily, intent on getting out of Newlands airspace as quickly as possible. 

BWKm0 - No. 67 - Osprey

Now, I am sure that I've passed comment upon the Thanet Hedgehog population crash in some previous posts? When Bev & I first moved here, I had to erect a wire mesh barrier around the moth trap to prevent these spiny, moth eating, scoundrels from accessing this food source. Road casualties were a ridiculously common sight around the local area, so common in fact that the term "Dedgehog" was often used to describe the encounter. Then, just as has happened with our Greenfinches, they were gone! Disease, habitat loss, climate change? I have nothing to say about the catastrophic population crash, because, at that time, hedgehogs were not of much interest. Oh how time has changed my outlook? Quite how history will look back on the Covid pandemic and its' role in redefining "normal" within a UK context, I have no idea, but garden hedgehogs have been a superb result of this global catastrophe from my perspective. I (& Bev) signed up to become a Hedgehog Champion, via The Hedgehog Preservation Society, thus have access to much information regarding the status of these fascinating creatures. 

Adult and youngster on 30th August 2021

I might be a little cynical here, but, do all conservation based charities thrive on negativity? The Thanet hedgehog population is certainly very buoyant, although not back to the levels of twenty years back, yet road casualties are far more regular now. Bev & I saw three, "Dedgehogs" between Bromsgrove roundabout and Asda, on Sunday morning. For these poor animals to be involved in such tragic accidents is a sure sign that, in the bigger picture, numbers are on the up? The garden feeding station is within 3m of my study doorway and there is a camera pointed in the direction most nights.

I'd got back from a late evening session at the syndicate fishery and placed the food dish out just before midnight. The first visitor was on site within ten minutes, within an hour I was watching this!

I really have no idea as to how many individuals visit our feeding station during the
course of a night/week/month/year?
Whatever the "doom & gloom" merchants want you to think -
Hedgehogs are doing okay here on Thanet!


  1. Well in my travels around Sheppey in recent years, sightings of hedgehogs have become few and far between. Doesn't help that because of the hogs liking for ground nesting birds eggs and chicks, the largest nature reserve on Sheppey is licensed to trap them every Spring and remove them alive to the mainland. Also, one of the largest farmers on Harty, every autumn, spreads large amounts of slug pellets across his arable fields. But even around gardens here, hedgehogs are still very uncommon now.

    1. Wow, that's not quite what I expected? Obviously the purpose of a nature reserve must be to protect the scarcer species which utilise the habitat, yet must admit to knowing very little about the negative impact of hedgehog predation on ground nesting birds. Does the reserve also have a licensed response to Fox, corvid and Herring Gull impacts upon these same ground nesting species?
      If Sheppey is so inclined to export its Hedgehogs to the mainland, it can't be such a surprise that they remain a scarce sight - Dylan

  2. A few years ago several cameras were put out around the reserve at night, close to known Lapwing nests and it was surprising the amount of nests that the hedgehogs raided.
    The reserve also controls corvids, foxes and stoats but only during the birds main nesting season i.e. March to May. Herring Gulls aren't a problem but Med. Gulls are. This year Med. Gulls decimated the first round of Lapwing breeding and numbers were only saved by a successful second round of nesting.

    1. Fascinating stuff. I "Googled" Hedgehog predation of ground nesting birds and was blown away by the scale of this behaviour across a wide range of habitats. Cheers for taking time to engage in such folly - stay safe and keep smiling - Dylan