I have now placed in our wood a domain for a Hedgehog. I am reluctant to add artificial attractants to our wood, it is after all a wood and not a garden. I did put in a drinking hole a couple of months ago and now we have a hedge hog house.
However whilst I have no objection to a few bird, bat and dormouse boxes in other peoples woodland , I think I will back off adding any more animal residences for a while otherwise it could end up with bird feeders, fat balls, upside down coconuts, plastic gnomes and wind charms…juck!!!
This photo shows the internal layout of this desirable one bedroomed property, with internal corridor, built to ‘Hedgehog specification 157 B’ , ie internal dimensions not less than 5 inches wide. The heavy duty sliding roof has been removed to show the floor plan.
I made the hedge hog box from some very good solid wood which I had recovered from old storage units which I cleared from Mother in Laws shed. One unit even had dovetailed joints and the shelves were rebated into the main frame…They made things to last back in the day. Which day? well they were at least 50 years old. So a shame to chop them up and take them to the dump. I still have quite a bit of wood left so I may construct a second Hedgehog house, I think a 6 acre wood could support two hedgehogs.
I have placed the house under some quite dense ivy, which will protect it a bit and make it invisible to casual passers by. It would be quite heavy to carry out of the woods, but folk have removed items from the wood in the past. The house is angled slightly to allow water to run off the overhanging roof and prevent any ingress of water along the external entrance passage. Suitable decor has been installed in the open plan living space ( dry leaves and dead bracken) The property has a rustic feel to it, no paint or preservatives have been applied as evidently prospective tenants do not like the smell of such applications.
Whist at the woods I also did a bit of path maintenance, Bracken, Brambles and Silver birch seedlings are all trying to swamp my little network of paths.
I saw a new bird to the woods which was a Willow warbler. I am hearing Chiffchafs all the time now and Willow warblers look very similar however have a different call and the best way to tell them apart visually is leg colouration. Chiffchafs have dark brown/black legs and Willow warblers have light brown legs. Which you can see in the photo.
I also saw a large Longhorn Beetle called a Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata)
Butterflies were a bit thin on the ground. I was hoping that with lots of brambles in flower that more would be attracted, perhaps even some Fritillaries. All I saw was this Speckled wood and a few whites, probably Small Whites but maybe Green veined.
Plenty of wild flowers about and I took photos of some to use in my other blog about Woodland wildflowers, including this nice group of Slender St Johns wort.