Monday 17/8/09 - A Change of Location

Back to work today. Nuff said. Having had a relatively poor show last night and a no show on Friday I decide on a slight change of routine tonight. I get down to the centre at about 20:45, stock up with nuts and go down to the hide to put the nuts down as usual. Rather than sit in the hide and wait, I head for the sett and pick a spot nearby, about 25 meters away from it, spread some nuts on the mown path and sit down in the long grass alongside the path. It's a bit odd not being in the hide but already I've heard the wild Little Owls and a Barn Owl not far away. I can also hear movement in the hedge alongside the path over to the right of the sett. After about twenty minutes, as it's now quite dark plus my legs are killing me kneeling down, I stand up. I have a camo jacket on, a hat and a scrim net over my head. I hope no-one sees me like this! The movement slowly works its way up towards me and eventually a small black and white head appears in front of me. It's a cub! I hadn't seen any for a little while and being new to this game, thought they had grown up a bit and were hard to distinguish from the others. This is definitely a small badger, shortly joined by a second. I assume that, although the cubs are now feeding independantly, they are not straying too far from the sett? Answers on a postcard please...

I have the camcorder with me, but they are a little further away than they can get at the hide, bearing in mind I'm just stood there, it's still pretty close, maybe four meters. They are working their way towards me when I notice eyeshine from behind the two feeding badgers. I'm about to be joined by a third. However, this one seems quite nervous and although I can see its eyes and hear it moving, it's a good five minutes before it makes it out of the bushes. I slowly move the light towards it and I'm really pleased to see it is in fact a fox cub!! It is quite wary of the badgers at first, but begins eating peanuts and seems to relax a little. All three animals are slowly moving towards me and I've got this big grin on my face looking at the three young animals feeding together. The fox cub decides to circle around the badgers and passes between them and me. It moves within about eight feet of me and doesn't know I'm there!! Wind is in my face, I hasten to add. Anyway, struggling to get a decent shot with the camcorder (spotlight in one hand, camcorder in the other), I try and change settings. With the spotlight moving around, the fox cub decides it has had enough and trots off to my right. The badgers are still feeding. I notice the fox hasn't gone far, but he's watching me from further down the path as the eye shine gives him away. Eventually, I manage to spook the badgers too and they disappear into the bushes. Still with a big grin on my face I decide that's enough excitement for one evening and start to walk back towards the farm. I flick on my head torch and look back to where the feeding was taking place. The badgers are back out already. I stop and I'm trying to decide whether to creep back to see if I can get close again. At his point I hear something behind me and turn around to see what it is. There is some eyeshine bounding towards me and I see this is an adult fox. It stops about five or six meters from me and stares at me. I stare back and after several seconds it turns around and bounds away. As I watch it go it's joined by another pair of eyes, both of which are watching me from about 30 meters. This looks like the adult plus another cub. So far tonight, three foxes and two badgers. I decide to call it a night and I continue back towards the farm. Only a few strides later and something else is moving in the long grass. It must be a badger as I can see the grass moving, but no sign of the animal and the grass isn't taller than a fox. I stand and wait and the badger appears out of the long grass a little further up the path. Three all!

I decide that it's probably too late to go back down to the hide to see what is there and head for home. What a great evening. Perhaps we should be building a hide up this end too!

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