Sunday, 12 June 2011

Prickly pest and beautiful guest

I've been trying to rest this weekend. Other than going to South Nesting to the rowing regatta (as a spectator) yesterday, I've been pretty lazy for a change. Watching Star Wars and reading mostly.

Walking up the path at home today I saw a cute little hedgehog on it's way down the path. We stared at each other. It started to quiver it's quills as if to do it's prickly ball thing, but I left it to go inside for my camera, hoping it would stay 'open' for my return.

On return it had gone! I soon found it though, in some leaf litter near the wheelie bin at the back of the house. I took my picture and now it's gone again! I wonder if it's living close.

I've seen a few around when I've been out with the dog on an evening, not that they're native here. In the past measures have been in place to cull them in other parts of Scotland, notably Uist. Apparently the predecessor of Scottish Natural Heritage paid people to bring them to the Outer Hebrides people to try to wipe out slugs and snails in the 70's, obviously not realising that they also like birds eggs! So, some years later Scottish Natural Heritage spent a small fortune trying to get rid of them to much public outcry

As far as Shetland goes Nature in Shetland says:

Hedgehogs were introduced to the Tingwall Valley in the middle of the 19th century. They thrive in Shetland in the absence of any predators on Mainland and been and have spread through much introduced to many of the inhabited islands. While much of their food comprises earthworms, beetles, spiders and slugs they also have an appetite for bird’s eggs, so they present a threat to ground-nesting birds. Hedgehogs have often been observed systematically working their way through all the nests in a tirrick (tern) colony.

Well, personally I think they're cute. I like coming across them. One thing is for sure; they are certainly a lot less damaging to the natural environment than that common or garden pest, The Human! 

Later. I was sorting the out the hens, a lovely afternoon, and there basking in the sun, feeding on the common bistort and fluttering about in the back garden were some beautiful red admiral butterflies. There were large whites too, but for all they're a welcome sight, the red admirals raise the spirits that bit more.

Things might be quiet here for a peerie start. I have a date with a surgeon later this week for 'the snip'. So, I'll be out of action in more ways than one... 

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