Yes... I know... I've been AWOL for almost exactly a month now, but... well... I've been busy, eh?
Work has been silly.
We're all a bit exhausted here to be honest - dodgy tummies and ulcerated throats, headaches etc. All due (I'm sure) to sleepless nights thanks at least in part to our 7 month old boy. So nothing serious but exhausting nonetheless.
My boys have been keeping me busy.
I've now agreed to help coach the U7s at the local rugby club.
I've been busy going to rugby matches and golf tournaments...
AND the rugby world cup is on.
Oh yes... and BBC Parliament is avid viewing these days too (who'd have thunk that four years ago?).
So... Anyway... I thought I'd just drop by to say "hello" and to let you know I'm still here, sometimes... and then I'll booger off again for a week or so I expect.
What's been happening then, wildlife-wise, over the last month? I'll bullet the main points for as much brevity as I can now muster...
Regarding our hedgehogs, you'll see from the first video clip below that our biggest flea-ridden, spiky friend is most certainly a male. A well-endowed male at that... and I think this is our original hedgehog.
The second video clip below shows our second hedgehog. Much smaller and much faster than the hedgehog above. This small hedgehog is NOT obviously a male or a female (in that I've not managed to get a gander at its genitals yet... ohhh my wife is a lucky so-and-so isn't she). This hedgehog, although smaller than the one in the clip above, has been MUCH smaller - I almost wonder if its not even one year old yet. I guess I'll never know.
And my final wee video clip from a few nights ago now, shows BOTH our two (I'm almost positive we only have two, not three) hedgehogs in our side pssage together. You'll note, I'm sure, when watching the clip, that the bigger hedgehog is nearest the camera, and is going about its own business when the smaller hedgehog walks into shot in the background and freezes on hearing a nearby hedgehog. All this means is that these two hedgehogs are not a pair. They undoubtedly will "know" of each other's presence in the territory from scent if nothing else - and I'm sure they'll regularly come across each other on their nightly wanderings. But to repeat, whilst it's obvious that the bigger hedgehog is male, I have no idea about the smaller hedgehog (it could be male or female... or even perhaps trans?).
On that last point, whilst it's tempting for enthusiastic wildlife reporters/bloggers to ascribe sex (in terms of gender!) to their regular garden visitors (foxes, hedgehogs, mice, squirrels etc) unless its obvious (chronically-visible suckled teats on foxes or squirrels, a visible penis on a hedgehog) it is probably best not to guess. Invariably you'll be wrong!
That shallot for now, grapple fans.
I hope, like me, you're enjoying the Rugby World Cup and I hope like me you're getting over the fact that summer, once more, is no more this year.