Thursday 30/7/09 - Anything tonight?

After last night I was slightly apprehensive that the fantastic start we had had to the badger feeding may have hit the rocks. With a no show, it drives it home that this is nature and it will do as it pleases, no guarantees. My daughter decides to come with me tonight, although I had explained that the last two nights hadn't been great. Over to the centre, load up with nuts and say hello to Juliet and some of the birds. Vince is out putting some Tawnys into the pre-release aviary. Halfway down to the hide and I realise I've forgotten the radio. As we deliberately came over earlier tonight, I decided to keep going and make sure we are ready in case the badgers are coming out earlier.I take a different route to the hide tonight, not down the main path to the hide, but one that approaches from the left of the hide. We settle down for the wait and thankfully, don't have to wait too long. After about twenty minutes at 21:48, Beth indicates that she can see a badger on the main path. I can't see it yet, but a few minutes later it appears. It very slowly makes it's way into the feeding area, but then, still some distance from us, turns round and trots off out of sight. A few minutes go by and it reappears with a second badger. The first one is a full grown animal, the second probably this years cub. They now make their way into the area, feeding confidently. We are joined by a third badger, again quite large, from the left path and then a fourth down the main path. This is looking good. I see some movement off to my left and there is the big, boar badger. He is looking directly at the hide, nose in the air. He scuttles off into the hedge and I don't see him again. The badgers have now worked their way quite close to the hide. We have three animals feeding about six or seven feet away. We can smell them, hear them eating, breathing and sniffing. Every now and then a little grunt and even a shove between animals to protect their food. Another badger appears from the left, now five badgers in front of us. The last one to appear is one of the two that don't appear to get on. The other badger who makes up the pair makes the quiet whinney type noise and trots off. The badgers are now even closer and a full grown animal is not more than five feet away, along with the cub. Fantastic! The nuts and raisins are now running out and there is much sniffing and snuffling trying to find the last ones. Then, almost as one, they trot off down the left path and into the darkness.

I can barely stand! I've been knelt down all this time and due to the proximity of the animals, I was scared to move. I must look at taking additional, quiet seating down there. I've discussed with Vince about modifying the hide for easier viewing and we need to look at this at some point.

Just to top the evening off, when back up at the farm, Vince calls us over and shows the latest addition to the collection. He has a gorgeous long-eared owlet, Connie, who is five weeks old. Captive bred, she is happy around humans and we all make a bit of a fuss of her. It is a treat to see this, still fluffy, owl at close quarters. A nice way to end a good evening.

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