Save Our Hedgehogs

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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Snow, a Hedgehog, the UK Badger 'cull' (again) and molehills

Hello folks, (another long post!)

It's been snowing since Thursday evening, but as the temperature has been fluctuating around five degrees we've still only got around 4 inches.  The poor birds are struggling and I've lost count of the times I've gone out to top up the feeders.

I was so excited on Monday when I found fresh hedgehog droppings in the garden and food gone from the feeding station.  I kept a keen watch and finally spotted the hog on Wednesday evening.  I just managed this one, blurred snap as it was in Grand Prix mode!
It was certainly healthy looking, and I 'think' there was the remnants of a white emulsion stripe on the spines, so it may be Octavia (?)  My big worry is that it is still visiting and feeding...I'm fairly sure it has nestled down in our number one hog box behind the greenhouse, but I don't want check and disturb it and frighten it off.  Hogs are very susceptible to hypothermia and night-time temperatures have been dropping down to -3C.  In the early hours of this morning (you all know I'm an insomniac) the food had been eaten again and there seemed to be footprints (barely visible) in the snow from that box.  I shall keep a close eye on the situation.

This was the view into the front garden from my bedroom window when I woke yesterday.
and (what you can see of) the pond
Behind the pond.
Latest addition - an Aldi bird feeder pole and fittings

* * * *

I have rigged up a covered area for the ground feeding birds as the food is covered with snow within minutes of putting it out.  I have just replaced the plastic potting tray in the greenhouse, and this seemed like a good use for the old (very perished) one.
There was this pair of blue tits I managed to capture this morning 
then, this afternoon the male chaffinch came to call and this time I actually managed a couple of images!
Though the exposure has been 'tweeked' a little to show his true colours.

Images I missed?  The pied wagtail - a VERY rare visitor to my garden, the pair of green finches
and pair of jackdaws with their beautiful bight blue eyes.

Earlier this week I was travelling along the A5 towards Telford through farmland.  I noticed an inordinate amount of molehills in most of the fields.  As this has been under flood water for some time and the ground is so thoroughly saturated I can only presume that either the moles have been opening up their runs in the hope of drying them out, or alternatively have escaped the flood water I don't know.  Here's a couple of images of just one of the fields...
Has anyone else noticed this phenomena?

* * * *

I have never seen myself as a political animal/activist, but the forthcoming badger cull has made my blood boil.  Living as I do in close quarters with the farming community my views on 
badgers are not very welcome as most farmers are pretty well convinced that 
the badgers that are the bad guys regarding the issues with Bovine TB in the UK. 
I've done quite a bit of reading up on 
the subject to get my facts right, and as the disease is 
spread by the water droplets in breath.  I have realised that the 
cattle themselves are probably the ones doing most of the spreading, as they are kept in such close quarters especially during the Winter months..... and be honest, you 
just don't see many badgers kissing cows do you!  However, the Government
is still going to go ahead with the badger cull that was delayed last year (because of the public outcry against this abomination.)  The RSPCA is still asking for signatures to support them in the 'FINAL COUNTDOWN'.  Below is a copy of the latest email I have received from them, if you too feel that this is a needless murder of a so called protected species please add your name.

Dear Supporter,

It’s round two for England’s badgers as the Westminster Government announce that the misjudged and ill fated plans to cull badgers will now go ahead this summer.

Now, with the culls due to begin in under three months, it’s now or never for the badgers. We want to deliver 250,000 voices against the badger cull via the Number 10 petition to ensure that the Government can’t ignore us any longer.

There’s just a few months to go before this unnecessary slaughter begins, unless we can stop it! Here’s what you can do:
  • Step 1:
    If you haven't already, sign the Team Badger petition today!
  • Step 2:
    Badger your friends and family to sign! Copy and paste this link: onto your facebook and twitter pages. Don't forget to use the #StoptheCull hashtag!
  • Step 3:
    Forward this email to your animal friendly contacts and ask them to take action!

Last year, thanks to your support, badgers were given temporary reprieve as the proposed cull of badgers received widespread condemnation from the public, politicians and scientists alike. We need to demonstrate that we will not sit by and allow this war on our wildlife to go ahead unchallenged.

Thank you for your support!

Violet - RSPCA campaigner
Follow me on Twitter: @VioletRSPCA

The Welsh Government have seen sense and have already started a long term badger vaccination scheme (Please click on the link for the you tube story.)  Don't be hoodwinked by our 'leaders'.

Right, I'm off my soapbox.

* * * *

And finally...I've received an email from Google saying my storage plan is due for renewal in the next 30 days.  As far as I can understand. as long as I have kept my bank details up to date it should still renew on the old 'annual plan'.  Fingers crossed on this.  Has anyone else out there had a smooth original plan renewal?  I'd love to know.

Best wishes to all, stay safe and warm.


fabriquefantastique said...

Lets hope it is Octavia. You seem to have as much snow as us. Off to see if they will accept my signature on the badger site....chin up.

awholeplotoflove said...

How exciting hedgehogs, Mike has seen some in the street ( a couple of years ago) but I never have.

fabriquefantastique said...

Done....and I still am a British subject.

Louise said...

Nice to see you have a hog visitor again, I know he/she will be well looked after in your garden!

I will go to the petition in a moment. I can see the argument from both sides but I don't agree that a badger cull is the most effective solution to bovine TB.

My google storage plan will renew in a few days. I signed up on the old plan, where it was around $5 for the year, and that is just going to renew. My card details haven't changed so I'm assuming it'll just happen.

Liz said...

Yup, mine seemed to go ahead with no worries! Great photos.
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Jay said...

Lovely photos of the snow and birds, and fingers crossed the hedgehog is ok in these temperatures. I'm going to read a bit more about the badger cull, I was lucky enough to see one a few years back on a little country lane nearby.

Dan said...

Hi Rose
What a good idea to cover the ground food for the birds. I've put mine under bushes and shrubs in the hope they'll find it.
I've also noticed a lot of molehills recently. The field next door to our office is full of them.
I wonder why the English government don't start a vaccination scheme as the Welsh have done?

greenthumb said...

So much snow, how kind you are to all the little animals.

pattypan.2 said...

Go Get em and thanks for doing your bit for wildlife. Have signed up to the petition and popped it on my facebook page too.

Take care



rusty duck said...

I hope the hedgehogs haven't come out of hibernation too early..

Denise said...

Hi Rose,

Great post, Rose. First of all, let me say that your new fence looks lovely! I'm sure you and hubby are really enjoying it. I can't believe how much snow you have! I think we're about the only ones in the U.S. who haven't had a decent snow this year, and at this point, I don't really want one. :)

I love the bird pictures. I may have told you before that I saw the Blue Tits when we were in England, and I LOVE them; they're one of my favorite birds, but we don't have them over here. That finch is really colorful, too.

I'm glad you have your hedgehog visitor; I hope it's Octavia! I tend to agree with you on the badger issue, even though I'm not eligible to sign the petition since I don't live in the U.K. It doesn't make since that the cows would be getting TB from badgers, but I'm not an expert on the subject. I hope the government will come up with a better plan for all concerned.

Have a wonderful week, Rose.


Denise at Forest Manor

Little Blue Mouse said...

I had to laugh at your covered feeding area. It reminds me of a home made trap from a cartoon; I can just imagine you laying in wait ready to pull a string!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

your backyard is going to be so pretty when spring finally arrives!

Mary said...

OOPS! How did I miss this one, sorry!

They appear to be BIG moles to leave mounds like that! As for the badgers, which we don't have here, it's sad to think they may cull them if they aren't the culprits.

So you did get snow - gives your lovely garden a new perspective for a while, and I always love birds in the snow, but hopefully doesn't snow you in!

Again, hugs coming your way - Mary X

Wendy said...

I hope the hedgehog is fine in the cold weather. That is an amazing amount of molehills; I don't think I've seen so many. And I'm completely with you on the proposed badger cull.