We're lucky to have hedgehogs that visit our garden every night. Once a common sight in many gardens, the hedgehog population has declined drastically over the years and so it is very exciting to know that we have several living in Darnick. At most we've had three captured on the camera at one time so I know there are at least three individuals that visit - however the exact number is unknown.
I keep saying that I am going to try photographing them but have always been put off by the fact that they come at night and so I'd need to set up lights and so on. Rather than thinking about it, researching different lights or basically finding excuses about why I couldn't photograph them, I decided to give myself a push and set the challenge of photographing them throughout September.
I've been feeding them in the same place in the garden since last year and so it was easy to know where they would turn up and my trail cameras have identified when they turn up. As it is now dark much earlier they have been arriving around 9pm so for the last few nights I've sat outside just before 9pm and waited.
There's something really nice about sitting in the dark, letting your senses become aware of the different noises. People out walking their dogs, the rustling of leaves under the hedge as the mice dart about or the occasional twit-twoo call of the Tawny Owls.
Hedgehogs, although they're small, are not light on their feet, and I don't have to wait long before I hear them crashing through the flower bed towards the food.
The whole set up I'm working on is one where the hedgehog is in charge. I sit and wait and the hedgehog chooses whether it's coming to the food near me or not. The lights (at the moment a 30W builders lamp and a torch) are switched on before they arrive and I'm not using flash. Some people say it causes no harm but I don't want to take the chance - we wouldn't be particularly happy if someone flashed a bright light in our faces so I don't the hedgehogs would be that keen either! I never sit long after they arrive as one in particular is quite small and so the most important thing is that they are able to feed undisturbed and build up their weight for hibernation. At all times the welfare of the animal is paramount.
Over the next few weeks I hope to capture different images as I work on the lighting and set up. Sometimes two appear at the same time and so it will be equally as interesting to observe how they interact with one another. Hedgehogs tend to be quite solitary and so sometimes they tolerate one another - and other times they don't.
As well as creating nice images, I'm hoping that this project will enable me to learn more about the hedgehogs in the area and eventually expand to a proper survey of the hedgehogs in Darnick and what we can do to help them.
To be continued....
No comments posted.