Saturday 17/10/09 - A busy night

Looking forward to getting over to visit the badgers this evening as I've not made it for the last three nights due to other places I needed to be. I did manage to feed on two of those nights, so still feel I'm getting some contact with them, if only leaving my scent behind!

On my own in the hide, food out, including some Fox and Badger Food (what is says on the tin), and net up and anticipating what may turn up tonight. First thing to show is the mouse. He's getting bolder now and coming out into the middle of the floor to investigate any dropped peanuts, of which I always ensure there's at least a few there. Not long after, a badger appears from the main path and heads for the open door of the hide outside of which the bulk of the food I put out is placed. It finds some of the badger and fox food, a bit like small dog biscuits, and starts crunching one up. What a racket! Crunch, crunch, crunch!

The badgers have followed the dusk from 10.30 at night in July down to about 7.20 fairly consistently until about a week, or so back. They are still turning up at about 7.20 although it is quite dark at this time now. I'm guessing they have reached their "early limit" and won't follow the earlier dusk any more. Is this a normal pattern for some badgers to take? Not sure until I've learnt a lot more than I know already...

                           The Little One!

A second badger has appeared and both are now close to the hide. Amazingly, the mouse is still out collecting his food and from my perspective, he is sometimes less than two feet from the much bigger animals, who aren't adverse to eating a small rodent, or two, given the opportunity! The mouse, of course, is inside the hide and the badgers aren't so he is safe from them for now. I start feeding a few extras to the two badgers outside. I hear a Little Owl call from close by. I tend to hear the Little Owls around dusk rather than into the night, but on the odd occasion they are very active and vocal on into the dark. I sit there, smiling, as I watch the two badgers just outside the hide and the mouse running around inside the hide. It's about now that a sudden noise on the roof grabs my attention. Sat there in the dark with the noise of the badgers eating and sniffing, a sudden noise this close by certainly wakes me up. Scratchy steps take a wander around the roof and I assume it must be the Little Owl I heard earlier. He stays for a minute then flies off, although I don't see him. I suppose it could have been anything, but an owl is most likely. For that minute I'm sat there watching the two badgers, the mouse and listening to the footsteps on the roof! Good fun.
He likes that new badger food!            
The badgers start investigating the food on the doorstep and are soon, individually, eating off the step. I take some pictures and try and put a bit more food on the step. The badgers are now watching my hand appear from the darkness inside the hide, but a whistle and the appearance of food makes them inquisitive rather than scared. One does trot off, but the younger animal doesn't; he just watches. Once my hand is clear, he moves in and eats the nuts. The other animal is back already so the sight of my hand presumably didn't scare him too much! If I can get them used to movement and a bit of rustling of clothes, that will only help when visitors are present. I stop feeding at this point; they've had enough of my food and need to get out and find some more natural snacks to eat. I wander back up to the farm and after a quick chat, it's home to a glass of wine and feet up.

Badger Fact!
During the autumn, badgers spend a great deal of time feeding
to build up their fat reserves ready for the coming winter

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