The Curious Case of the Hollow Holes

Many of my posts on this new blog are going to be species specific, that is a device that I am using to make them more permanent. But…

If you know me then you know that sometimes I like to ramble and my rambling posts will come under this banner

“The Amazing Adventures of Fizz”

You know Fizz, she rambles with me. These posts will always be accessible from the “About Fizz” page.

Fizz

I started to tell you about The Curious Case of the Hollow Holes on my old blog. some of this story may be familiar to you.

The story begins in early May. I was just walking the dog…

a beautiful placeIn a beautiful place..

Wild GarlicThat beauty (BTW) is Wild Garlic.

Wild GarlicThere were plenty of signs of animal activity as we wandered along the track. Fresh digging….

Diggingand there were holes, lots of them.

Also, these were not just ordinary holes, these were hollow holes. There was nothing inside of them, they were completely empty. I guess that they wouldn’t have been holes if there was stuff inside of them but something was missing and we needed to find out what that was.

HolesNow this is the true and extraordinary thing.

There should have been something inside of these holes, I knew that and so I searched around and I found that what was missing was Arum Lilies.

ArumI found about thirty of these hollow holes and beside every one of them was the remains of an Arum Lily, Arum maculatum, Lords and ladies, The Cuckold’s pintle, call it what you like but Wild Arum.

Hollow holeThe roots had been eaten.

Arum less rootsAn animal has walked along this track searching out every Arum lily and dug it up and eaten the roots. What sort of an animal does that?

TrackAnd that is how The Curious Case of the Hollow Holes began.

My partner and I are detectives of renown (we are also available for hire, if you think that your husband is messing around with a Deer or anything like that) We are also capable of deploying sophisticated surveillance equipment if the need arises but we start with our eyes.

I found tracks that I should have recognised straight away. I thought that there was a possibility that it was Boar on hard ground, so no dew claws, a partial print. Video evidence will later show that it was almost certainly Deer but Deer don’t dig up roots like this and I was looking for a culprit.

Fallow Deer trackFizz found tracks that she identified as a well shod Pushmepullyou.

Pushmepullyou tracksI love Fizz but this time I had my doubts. I mean, have you ever seen a Pushmepullyou in horseshoes? There were other possibilities about those tracks and maybe we were both wrong.

(We are both still good though and still available for hire)

She said she could smell him.

Pushmepullyou tracksTo this day this is an unsolved mystery.

Before we had even thought about our next step we stepped out of our front door and came face to face with three Wild Boar. Boar are definitely in the frame. Badgers are also known to eat the Arum roots and there is an old and well established Badger sett along this lane. It is almost certainly Badger or Boar. I think that it is the Boar but I just can’t prove it either way.

At this point our investigations met with an unexpected hindrance.

Every year in May there is a bicycle race routed right down our back passage.

The TourLast year we were caught out and we were in the lane when the race arrived. There was no room for us to return home against the flow of cyclists and so we were trapped for an hour or so, unwitting spectators offering encouragement to the participants.

This time around we were able to spot the signs and avoid the same catastrophe.

Small indicationsJust before they hold this event they come through the lane and to the best of their ability they clear a path for the cyclists and this, unfortunately destroys all of our evidence of root eaters.

Track clearedIt is quite good that they do this because pretty soon this track will be so overgrown that Fizz and I will have to walk elsewhere and this gives us a bit more time here but on this occasion the timing is unfortunate .

It was time to deploy the sophisticated surveillance equipment and this is what we saw. The date and time stamp on these videos is wrong, the batteries have run out at some point and the camera has reset itself to day one. These were all taken in the last two weeks.


I was quite surprised to find that Fallow Deer are wandering up and down this track, pretty much constantly.


So it is all good and we have learned something but it wasn’t the Deer that dug up the roots. We don’t get to see the animal that did that.


That brings us up to the present day.

Yesterday our investigation took another unexpected twist.

Walking out to retrieve the camera I was quite disappointed to see that it wasn’t there.

I had left the camera on a gatepost looking down the lane and this is on public land. I have had two cameras taken in the past fifteen years and I see it as an acceptable risk . This camera cost me £200 and in the last two years it has more than repaid that outlay, I will get  another one.

But it wasn’t gone. Somebody had taken it off the gatepost and left it on the floor. They had also put little tags on the gate post telling me that the post was private property.

Unbeknown to the gentleman involved the camera was filming him in action. He came along and saw the camera, investigated it and took it off the post and then he took it for a walk. There are about fifteen videos of the camera walking along the lane. Then he brought it back, he took photographs of it, put his tags on the post and left.


This is all good, he is obviously an honest fellow but I am intrigued. I have clear video of just who he is and local intelligence will quickly track him down.

I will apologise for using his post in such a fashion and hopefully we will become friends. It is just another little mystery inside of a mystery.

For now we have curtailed our video surveillance because I don’t want to upset anybody. So our investigation has ground to a halt. We don’t know what animal ate the lilies but we believe that this was the work of the animal that we have come to know as The Beast of Badger Alley.

The same animal that constructed this “nest” last summer.

Nest

Nest

NestWhat sort of animal makes a nest like this? Could it be the same animal that eats the deadly poisonous Arum maculatum?

We don’t know what it is but we call it The Beast of Badger Alley.

More about Wild Arum

7 thoughts on “The Curious Case of the Hollow Holes”

  1. I think Fizz has already solved the mystery, Colin and she is just giving you the chance to do so yourself. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Push-mePull-you may not be too far adrift.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eliza 🙂 It has been sorted. There was an ownership dispute over a small parcel of land behind the post that I put my camera on. He thought the camera may have had something to do with that dispute and is happy now that he knows it was just me, spying on animals 🙂

      Like

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