Category Archives: British mammals

My 2015

My 2015 was a good year, it was also a very busy one!

Choosing a photograph per month to blog was both enjoyable and a challenge. It’s something I’ll be carrying through into 2016.

There were many other photographs that I loved to, so here are a few highlights .


Have a wonderful 2016 everyone!


Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

My 2014 in wildlife photographs: Part 2 – Birds and Mammals

For me, 2014 has been full of birds, the beautiful ones you can enjoy every day! From cute, fluffy ducklings to phenomenal starling murmurations, it’s been a utter delight to witness!
Here are my favourite 12 photographs I’ve taken of birds in 2014!

CormorantDunnock blog





Starling MurmurationNesting Sparrow





Pigeon at the moment of take-offNesting swan at golden hour





KestrelHeron on a frosty morning





Gulls at golden hourGull taking off





DucklingBlue tit and berries








The Mammals!

I don’t generally photograph many mammals, unless it’s a squirrel, I’m normally too surprised to pick my camera. I had a wonderful moment watching a weasel with its prey this summer, I didn’t photograph it, I was too busy marvelling at it with my own eyes! But I did manage to catch a photo of a handsome Rat, a cheeky Squirrel and charming Fox this year, so here they are!






I must admit I am rather excited to find out what wonderful wildlife encounters I will have in 2015! May your wildlife encounters of 2015 be thrilling and beautiful!
Happy New Year Everyone!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Big Garden Birdwatch 2014

I decided that this year I would take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. For one reason or another, it is something that has passed me by the past few years. But this year it was time to make an effort.

As my garden would only have one count – neighbours cat sat at gate – I thought I would do my count at the wildlife garden of the charity I  volunteer with. When they got wind of this, they offered me tea and toast for a copy of the results. As you can imagine I agreed to the exchange!

I spotted Sparrows, Blue tits, Chaffinches, a Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Dunnock , Woodpigeon and a tiny little Bank Vole!



Blue tit




Bank Vole

Tagged , , , , , , , ,


You may remember that in September last year, I started looking after a orphaned hedgehog. Just 80 grams when he was found, Milligan the hoglet grew into a healthy adult hedgehog ready for the wild.

You can find my previous blogs on his progress here:

Meet Milligan

Milligan gaining grams

Blissed out Hog

Call of the Wild

This has taken me a while to write as, despite best efforts, I got attached to Milligan.

But, I’m pleased to report that Milligan the hedgehog was released some months ago, mid-spring.

He was last seen disappearing into the undergrowth of an insect filled garden … all 1048 grams of him!

My flatmate and I want to thank our parents, Morris-Henshaw and his parents, our colleagues and friends for their help. Be it transport, photos, food and foraging ideas, a hedgehog-hutch or a garden! We appreciated all your help!

I shall leave this post with two photographs so you can see how him change over the months. One of him when he was found and one as he was taken to be released!

Milligan when first foundMilligan on his way to be released


Call of the Wild

I apologise for my absence again! I have been busy with one thing and another.

Milligan is doing well. In fact he is feeling the call of the wild! This wonderful photo was taken by Morris-Henshaw, it shows Milligan at the patio door looking very wistful.

Call of the Wild

I had hoped Milligan would be on his way by now, out exploring the local gardens, but unfortunately the weather is not quite ideal. Though there was not much snow on the ground where I am, the temperature is still very cold. Spring is very slowly beginning to show, but there’s not as much life out and about as there has been in previous years. I’m waiting for the weather to become a bit more stable, one swallow doesn’t make a summer!

Preparations have been made to get things ready to release Milligan. I’m waiting for the best time to release him as I want to make sure, after looking after Milligan for all these months, that he gets the very best start this spring! Although I don’t know when Milligan will be released, it will be soon and I do know I will miss him.



Blissed out Hog

My sincerest apologies for being incommunicado for the past few months. My promised updates on Milligan’s progress have been waylaid as I have had some much needed rest to recover from a chest infection. I’m back, fighting fit and can tell you that Milligan is happy and well.

He is now a grand 780g.

Unfortunately, he got to the 600g, safe hibernation weight, at the beginning of November. Just a bit too late to let him make his own nest in the cold winter air out in the wild.

He was one hedgehog that wasn’t near a bonfire on fireworks night.

I have plenty of little tales of hedgehog observation to tell. I will tell them retrospectively over the coming weeks. But for now, I’ll leave you with a picture of a blissed out hog.


Milligan gaining grams

In a few short days my resident orphaned hoglet has grow so much he is now 200 grammes! A third of the way there!

He’s also picking and choosing his preferred foods! He’s not very keen on cat/dog food, walking straight through it to get to his favourite food of cat biscuits! He cracks them open for the soft inners, akin to an Oreo eater!

Some Meal Worms were added to the biscuit mix and were ignored by Milligan for a few days. But once tried, the tasty snacks disappears without so much of a crumb left!

These diet choices mean two things, lots of fresh water is needed and only a few grams are gained in weight.

So following the Hedgehog Preservation Society’s advice, some off-the-bone cooked chicken has been given to ‘Mills’. That was wolfed down incredible quickly! That gave Milligan’s weight the final push to the 200 gramme mark!

So all these tasty meals are put out for the growing hog, it’s up to him what he eats. I’m happy just as long as he’s eating and piling on the grams!


Milligan and his meals! 2

Milligan and his meals! 1










Newspaper has been used to line Milligan’s living space. The intention was to make it easier to clean the area out. However, Milligan has had other ideas! Why walk on the newspaper when you can walk under the newspaper? Leads to a rather sweet game peek-a-boo, when the food is changed and water replenish!











These aren’t the best photographs in the world, Milligan is as curious as he nervous of the camera, so he never sits still! I don’t want to over expose him to me either, I take one or two shots if the occasion arises but other wise he’s left to choble his food alone!


Meet Milligan

First things first! The motto I and every other wildlife enthusiast live by is this; take only photographs and leave only footprints. If you find a wild animal that appears to be distressed you should only interfere if absolutely necessary. Seek advice from a rescue centre if you are really worried.

An example of a case when interfering might be deemed necessary; you spot a hedgehog running up and down the gutter of a very busy duel track road, the rush-hour traffic thundering past within inches of this vulnerable creature, and the ‘hog is unable to climb onto the grassy central reservation. You know that within the next few minutes this creature will be killed beneath the wheels of a car or truck unless you step out into the busy traffic and pick it up. Then you worry about the fact the hedgehog you pick up is so tiny that it fits in the palm of your hand and is completely unbothered by the big warm hands around it; it hasn’t curled up into a defensive ball the way hedgehogs should – it seems to have no survival instinct! Worry further when the mother is nowhere to be seen…

This was the situation my friend found himself in 3 weeks ago. He has, many times in the past, brought traffic to a halt while rescuing a terrified ball of quaking hedgehog from the fast-lane, and usually placing the hog on a nearby grassy verge is enough to see the hog scurry off to safety. But, as detailed above, this time was exceptional circumstances and these events unfolded, by happy coincidence, only meters from my workplace and just a few minutes before I finished work. So I was greeted that day by my friend with the tiny mite of a hedgehog on his car’s passenger seat the moment I clocked out!

My friend asked what we should do, I had a choice:

  • Release a very young hoglet back into the wild immediately. But we had to consider such questions as;

On which side of the road was its mother?

Where was the best place to let it go?

Was the hoglet able to look after itself?

Why was this chiefly nocturnal animal out and about in the middle of the day anyway?

How stressed was it?

Was it hungry/dehydrated?

Is it worth giving it food, water and warmth whilst seeking further advice?

  • Or we could take the hoglet into our care for food, water and warmth whilst seeking further advice, but I didn’t want to take a wild animal in unless absolutely necessary.

But would 24 hours of safety give the wee one a head start; 24 hours to consider the best place for its release?

Should it be with a rescue centre?

It’s so small, would it make it through the night?

Would it make it through the winter?

It’s early September, nearly autumn, and it’s so small… will it gain enough weight to hibernate?







All my instincts were telling me that this hoglet needed more help, and possibly more help than I knew how to give. I took the decision to look for its mother again and so we returned to the duel-carriageway and walked the length of it while the hedgehog snoozed in the passenger seat of my friend’s parked-up car. The mother was sadly no where to be found.

My friend and I took the hoglet home for warmth and food. I knew what to give the hoglet by way of food and moisture as I’ve had some previous experience with rehabilitating hedgehogs. As the hoglet settled in, warmed by a hot-water-bottle and quickly demolishing the dog food we gave it (it was famished!). Then phone numbers of rescue centres were looked up.

I called our local Hedgehog Rescue Centre, a voluntary organisation that I’d helped a few years ago with underweight hedgehogs. I half expected them to say, “let the hedgehog go”. I also half expect them to say, “bring the hedgehog in to us”.

The Rescue Centre’s expert asked me a few pertinent questions about the size of the hoglet (smaller than a tennis ball when curled up – weighed 80 grammes – very small); its health (bowel movements small, black and of a toothpaste consistency – healthy); and whether I knew of a place to release it (my Mum’s garden is big, provides protection from predators, is some distance from a busy main road and gives plenty of access to other gardens). Based on the answers I gave I was encouraged to keep the hoglet in my care (if I was willing and able to accept the responsibility) and get it up to hibernation weight – 600 grammes – before releasing it. I should keep it in a box or hutch – inside of the house was not a bad thing – and provide cat/dog food for it, with a few cat/dog biscuits or mealworms as supplements. I should do this over the next couple of weeks, and once up to weight, and after a few days of good weather, release the hedgehog into my Mum’s garden. The Rescue Centre also encouraged me to contact them again if the hoglet’s health deteriorated or if I needed further advice and assured me that they were willing to welcome the hedgehog to the Centre if the task of caring the for little mite proved too difficult for me.

So, it was decide that (Spike) Milligan the Hoglet would be the houseguest of me and my flat-mate for a short while!







The next day, upon hearing of Milligan’s story, a kind colleague gave me packets and packets of cat food! Her cats won’t eat lamb or salmon, so she gave me the lamb variety before headed off to the rescue centre (the one that had helped me) to donate the remaining salmon cat-food packets! Plenty of hearty food for a growing hoglet! Especially with some additional cat biscuits!

Since then I have been playing nurse-maid to Milligan (in the most hands off way possible). Feeding, cleaning out, hot-water-bottle replenishing and – a once a day – a weigh-in. It’s been paying off; Milligan has gone from 80g to 170g! So, until my new resident is 600g, I shall keep you informed of his progress!






One final thought; Milligan is not a pet. As my flatmate has pointed out in his own bemused way; we’re sharing our household with a wild hedgehog. We do not pet or play with Milligan, and we’re not in any respect trying to tame him; if he is to survive in the wild once released he needs to know how to be part of British Wildlife.


Shrew me the way to go home!

I decided yesterday evening to stretch my legs and get a breath of fresh air, so I took a turn around the block.

Passing my local nature reserve, a white and ginger cat sloped along the kerb on the opposite side of the road. We both stopped … the cat eyed me carefully.

This dark-eyed cat had an air of malice about it.

Then something just ahead moved. A small dark spot that, on closer inspection, was a rodent. I crossed the road and saw that the cat had taken interest in a shrew!

The shrew was in shock and the cat was still interested, so I stood guard (sneaking an irresistible quick photo with my phone!).

When the cat sloped off. It was clear the kerb was too high for the shrew to climb. I built a ‘ramp’ of sorts from twigs and leaves, for the wee mite to climb back to its scrubby home and disappeared back into the night.


This photo is not the highest of equality as it was taken at dusk, not wishing to alarm the shrew any further I turned my flash off and took the photo by street light alone, so I’ve tried to brighten it in processing.

For those of you wondering why I didn’t just simple pick the shrew up to take it to safety, shrews are easily stressed by handling and the poor thing had been through enough. Also, shrews are a schedule 6 protected species* so I thought the best thing to do was stand guard and then build the small rodent an escape route.

This is not the first time I’ve rescued something from a cat in this same area. I once stopped a rather confused cat attacking a still-twitching ‘dropped’ tail of a slow worm!


*Schedule 6 Animals (naturenet) –

Tagged , , ,
%d bloggers like this: