Tuesday 05/08/09 - Heavy rain today...

This evening Beth decides to come along with me. We are over at the hide by about 21:20 and settle in. It's stopped raining at least; it's been pouring down most of the day. There are a number of wild owls about tonight with Little Owls and Tawny Owls calling not far from the hide, but in the growing darkness we can't see them. It gets to 21:50 and no sign of a badger. Looks like another slow night at the hide. At 22:00 we both leave the hide to have a quiet look around to see if badgers are out and about. About fifty yards from the hide we find a solitary badger moving towards the hide. We go back to the hide and decide to give it a bit longer. I pick up some eye shine from a badger on the left hand path, but it doesn't come any closer than about twenty meters. I whisper to Beth that it looks like a "no show", her first. We pack up and head back. We meet a badger on the path, but he veers off into the hedge and dry ditch. As we get to the gateway between the upper and lower field, Beth spots a badger over to the right. It's nose is down as it hunts for worms and other such niceties. It's moving slowly towards us so I throw five or six peanuts down, hopefully in its path. It latches onto these almost straight away and I throw a few more down a couple of feet away. I've already told Beth to stand absolutely still. With the spotlight on the badger, we watch as it comes closer and closer. It gets to about eighteen inches away from our feet, sniffing and picking up nuts and other natural food. It then moves away, only to two or three feet, still foraging and continues down the path. It is one of this years cubs and the poor little thing looks soaked through! He must have been out in the long grass. It gets to a point downwind of us and it suddenly trots off. This just shows how important it is to take wind direction into account. As with last night, this experience is amazing, but tonight I got to share it; even better!

I'm starting to think that after heavy rain the badgers behaviour changes somewhat. Looking back through the blog, after rain their behaviour is different. They are either very late or don't show. Is this because the rain makes for easy feeding off natural food like worms and slugs? This slows them down or they feel they don't need to rush down to feed on nuts? I'm very new to this so I'm only speculating. Also, I'm surprised how they forage as individuals a lot of the time. They don't seem to stick together, even the younger ones are on their own a lot. I've noticed this has become more the norm even since I've been watching them, about a month. I go away for hols on Friday, so no badgers for a week! Once I get back I may try and get a bit more scientific with regard to weather conditions, timings, etc.

Can't go watching tonight, so no update unless something exciting happens. Hopefully I'll be there tomorrow night, my last for a week!

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