Several times this summer, we have awakened at around 6am to the sound of Doris bokking a warning. On investigation, nothing is ever found for these random early morning alarms. She generally greets our grumpy shushing with disgust, and struts back into the coop muttering. This morning, I think we've gotten to the bottom of it all.
The children woke us up just before seven with excited chattering about a hedgehog in the paddling pool. Fearing the worst, I dragged myself over to the window to find said hedgehog doing a bad French mime impression against the smooth plastic sides of the pool. Luckily, the pool is on a slope and only half full. The poor spiky critter must have wandered in for a drink, and then became trapped.
Wandering outside in my dressing gown, I flattened down one side of the pool and held it in place with a stray tennis racket. The hedgehog played dead, and spiked up, much to the kids' amusement. The ever tolerant husband attempted to get some photographic evidence of the spectacle, but the hedgehog was very camera shy. It just looks like a picture of a conker.
The girls watched all this activity by the pool with interest, and in silence. I retreated back to the house to watch and see where our little visitor would go. After a few minutes, it decided it was safe to uncurl. It snuffled around for a bit, then wombled it's way over the edge of the pool and into the shrubbery by the cherry tree. At this point, it became visible to Doris. Instantly, she set about shouting her head off, puffing her chest out and generally strutting around the run. The others all looked at her for a moment, then went back to bed.
And to think I was worried that our visitor might have been a fox.