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Assorted Wildlife, Beekeeping, birds, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Hedgehog, Squirrels, Starlings, Swarms

Really, I should just give them their own sets of keys…

Hog Heaven

Hog Heaven

Another month, another apology for my absence, especially to all those blogs to which I subscribe. I do get some of your posts on my phone and have enjoyed reading them, making a note to self to drop a like or a comment by, but obviously to no avail. I plead a writing commitment, that has left me exhausted for words anywhere else.

Which means this little catch-up will consist mostly of the poor visuals from my phone, but I hope no less amusing for all that.

In terms of the key comment, as you can see from the photo above of a hog caught in the worm bucket in our glass lean-to aka conservatory and from the following photos and videos, you will note that the wildlife is no respecter of our space. In fact, from the four confirmed hogs we have sited, two were not even ashamed to treat us to front row seats to a little hog lovvin, if you catch my drift…

Apparently, the garden is no longer big enough for the hogs’ food search, nor for anyone elses.  It’s not like we haven’t been trying to keep food in covered tubs, but that is pretty useless:

First, there were the old feed tubs

First, we used old feed buckets to secure the food, especially the peanuts. But the squirrels sheared the rims off the covers so that they easily popped off. I confess I don’t know what happened here…

If you look in the bottom left corner of the photo, you will see that the hogs are not the only ones who believe in going straight to the source, cutting out the middle woman and man.

Squirrel destruction 1

Our attempt at a heavy duty container for peanuts

We came to the end of our supply of peanuts this week, and I have not replaced them. We have large pieces of chopped peanuts and sunflower seeds in the shells, so that will have to do the squirrels for now until they learn boundaries. And they seem to be learning, the one squirrel reconnoitering the conservatory this morning notwithstanding….

Squirrels and hogs are not the only desperados….

Just another example of wildlife too impatient with us providing the food. I have no idea how this mouse got into this bag of food in the conservatory. Good thing I heard something or else it might have suffocated in too much of a good thing…

Still the Boss

Boss, our adopted son, and Toes are still King and Queen of the yard. (for Bossy background and Boss on his command post see here).  We had the same battle with all the boy blackbirds over territory in early April, and boundaries seemed to have been pretty well set going into late April. Which is when the girls started taking an interest, or rather taking no interest in what the boys set up. The girls decided they would gather nesting material anywhere they saw fit, didn’t matter if it was in someone else’s territory. Same for nesting sites. So, battle commenced again as the males tried to expand their territories according to the females’ demands.

Either Boss was a casualty of these conflicts, or someone bigger grabbed him on his left side while he was on one of his high(ly visible) command posts. Because last week, he had a bad limp and feathers missing from his inner wingspan. I was really concerned as he was in no fit state to defend his territory or his new chicks.

Boss_May 2017

Yes, he is enjoying his worms in the peace and quiet of the conservatory away from the marauding gangs of sparrows and starlings. Note his missing inner wings feathers which cause him to fly and land a bit wonky

Happy to say he’s fully recovered now. We just have to wait for those feathers to grow back. I have to say that he didn’t let his injuries prevent him from running down his adversaries. I was a little concerned he would do himself more harm. But my husband maintains that his rather protein-rich diet (all those worms) probably aided his recovery.

As noted above, we have the same cast of characters as last spring–the bullies that are the sparrows and the starlings; the endearing and cheeky blue tits and great tits who follow me around the garden for worms and who are in and out of the conservatory regularly if I leave the cover off the worms. The great tits are nesting in their usual box at the bottom of the garden, a straight shot back and forth to the conservatory. It’s like the flight path at an airport. There have been baby starling (God help us) and baby robin sitings. And if you look at the Bossy link above, we still have our physically-challenged female blackbird. She takes no crap from anyone, but I don’t think she has a mate or babies. I have to say the male blackbirds, and that includes Boss, are not very nice to her.

Ok, you are going to have to do a wicked lot of expanding here because this was the best I could do to capture a sparrowhawk taking a bath in one of our bird bowls….

sparrow hawk taking a bath

Not great, but you should just be able to make it out. I swear, between the hogs and the hawks, we gotta get one of those cameras….


They are busting out

Our one hive came out of spring raring to go. Their first primary swarm was a week ago Sunday. We didn’t have time enough to catch them, and so thought they were lost. But, fortunately, they waited around for us until the next morning (it had been cold), right before we had to catch a train. They are now all living happily in their nuc.

This past Sunday we had a secondary cast, which we through out to any takers from the local associations. We had an offer immediately, and they were settled in their polystyrene nuc by dark:

secondary cast May 2017

The guy has a number of apiary sites in the area and said he is in the process of converting all hives to polystyrene as they are cooler in summer and warmer in winter. But he does have to coat them with something akin to liquid concrete so they don’t fall apart.

There are so many other stories from the garden, too many. I will have to save them until next time.


8 thoughts on “Really, I should just give them their own sets of keys…

  1. It’s funny how reading an essay, one reads with a certain prejudice of experience. When I first read (in my email, without clicking to see the photos) and you were referring to “hogs” I was aghast: you have feral hogs in the UK??? They are a big problem here in Texas (not where I am, thankfully) and I could only imagine them barreling through your gardens, wrecking their havoc. I’m relieved that they’re only little hedgehogs–not that they are causing their own mischief.

    No apologies for not reading or commenting on others’ posts, but I will say that I miss yours.

    Posted by Tina | May 15, 2017, 6:48 pm
    • Another blogger mentioned the feral pigs thing. I remember watching something about that. How many states have a problem with it? It’s that think the show I was watching spoke about catching them in Florida. Listen, my yard looks feral enough, I suppose a pig wouldn’t make much difference.! And they would have pretty fierce competition from the spoiled squirrels. I miss reading and discussing with everyone, and you especially. I hope to have a more regular schedule now…

      Posted by mylatinnotebook | May 19, 2017, 9:58 am
  2. Your every mention of “hog” momentarily made us think “feral swine” rather than “wee tiggy”. Entirely different images brought to mind.

    Posted by theprospectofbees | May 16, 2017, 4:12 pm
  3. Good to see the local wildlife enjoying all your garden has to offer! Lucky you getting to experience hog luvvin!

    Posted by Emily Scott | May 19, 2017, 7:51 am

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