Andy and I came back from holiday last week to find a very different Hessilhead. First of all we noticed a great surge in the growth of vegetation. Our niger feeders had had been submerged by the buddleia and other feeders were hidden by head high nettles. Hessilhead had blossomed!
Likewise patient numbers had soared. There were more families of ducklings and lots of nestlings on heat pads. Another batch of starling chicks were noisily demanding food, and the fist swallows, house martins and even a swift and were feeding well. There is a delightful family of goldcrests, so small yet so full of character.
A few dramatic rescues had taken place. A fox had been rescued, with its head firmly stuck in a plastic baked bean container. Some ducklings had been rescued from a drain, which had involved a trip back to Hessilhead to collect crow bars etc. and two moorhen chicks, with unbelievably long legs and toes, had been rescued from a war time oil tank. Not long ago we rescued a swan from this same place.
Two buzzard chicks had come into care. They are siblings, beautifully feathered and well grown. Now they are in an aviary for flying practice.
The oldest common gull chicks have feathers now, looking quite grown up and smart. The youngest chicks were still in the hospital, but have moved to a shed now. One of our largest enclosures is filling up with lesser black backed gulls. these have mostly fallen from roofs.
The biggest surprise was to find 14 baby hedgehogs in the hospital. Most of these had come from disturbed nests. The good news was that all were old enough to feed themselves, possible a bit prematurely, due to being very hungry when found.