In Celebration of Dusk and Darkness

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Hedgehog

The first week of June has, as is often the way, offered us four seasons in as many days. We’ve been changing outfits more often than Kylie to keep up. Hats and gloves one minute and shorts and t-shirts the next. I have literally been hailed on and sunburnt whilst repainting the pitch name signs this week. A little rain has slightly eased our worries about water levels in the ponds and brought the raised bed planting on a bit but really, we could do with a lot more.

We’ve been enjoying evenings on the deck at the Tiny House and noticing clouds of flies, midges and moths emerging from the meadows, following the rain showers. These provide welcome food for swallows and later in the evening, pipistrelle bats, which we love to see skimming the tops of the buttercups, taking their fill.

As dusk sets in our night cameras start to wake up. With the campsite closed, we are definitely seeing more nocturnal visitors. The big excitement this week has been the return of hedgehogs. Over the years Anne and Bryan have fostered lots of hedgehogs and mostly they have been released so successfully that they have never been seen again. Campers on the grown-ups pitches have occasionally seen hedgehogs, last year one lucky group even saw a mother with babies or hoglets, but for the most part the Greenhillock hedgehogs have been quite shy.

It was a delight therefore, to spot this night-time visitor coming down the side of the Home Pond. Bryan industriously built a hedgehog feeding and watering station for it but we still haven’t captured footage of it going inside to feed. The jury is out on whether it’s the hedgehog or a regular feral cat visitor that’s benefiting from the special hedgehog food.

Other nocturnal visitors this week have been foxes, badgers and roe deer including a buck with splendid antlers! The foxes remain quite wary but the badgers seem very much at home munching on the peanuts that Anne leaves out for them.  The same can’t be said for the roe deer hind which is more easily spooked, shown here being seen off by a single rook.

In meadow news, the yellow phase continues to dazzle but with more stunning, purple orchids popping up everywhere. We are starting to see the first clover and ribwort plantain flowers in the South Paddock, reminding us that soon the yellow will start to give way to white. The Home Paddock, which is a Hay Meadow and therefore has never been sown with wildflowers, has lots of self-set yellow rattle flowers especially beside the paths. We are drawing the conclusion that the seeds are travelling on the deck of the mower.

Take care and stay safe!

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