Saturday 3/10/09 - A trip down to the hide with Beth

I went over to feed the badgers last night, but was on my usual Friday night outing to see some friends. It's nice to mingle with some humans from time to time!

I've been thinking about the wonderful weather we've been having lately. Those nice warm, sunny days followed by the darker evenings, with that definite Autumnal chill in the air. This has been going on for a month, or so, now. No real rainfall around here to speak of. That must make things difficult for animals whose staple diet is earthworms. We have been getting some heavy dews, I guess, but are worms about on those chilly nights? I guess there is a lot of fruit about at this time of year and that contains a certain amount of water. There are also ponds nearby, so drinking isn't a problem, but what about food? The two regulars I get at the hide are looking in great condition and I don't think they are reliant of the food I put out. If I didn't feed them again for a month, I'm sure they'd be OK. That said, Beth and myself had just got down to the hide this evening and it absolutely threw it down with rain for about twenty minutes! As there is currently no roof on the hide, just the camo net, it doesn't offer much protection from the rain and we got rather wet. We stuck it out, though and were rewarded with a visit by two very wet looking badgers.
                       Boots and Badgers
One arrived at 7.50, really late compared to recent arrivals. He comes down the main path and is soon joined by another from the path to the left. We have left the net up tonight and Beth is sat in the middle of the doorway on a chair a couple or three feet into the hide. I am sat on my stool to the right of the door, but would be fairly obvious to anyone passing. The badgers move in close to the hide and finish the food I've already put out. I have put some nuts on the doorstep too. I begin feeding them additional nuts after a whistle and they move in really close. One of the badgers latches onto the nuts on the doorstep and climbs up to get at them. Beth is sat on the chair with her feet out in front of her. The badger gets quite close to her feet, but thinking she may scare them if she moves her feet, she leaves them there. In the next picture you can see her feet against the doorstep with the badger happily feeding closeby. In the picture, her feet look really big, and no, they're not my wellies! I think the perspective of the lens makes them look big.
Same number of badgers and feet, less nuts    

I manage to throw some nuts to the two badgers and whilst their heads are down eating them, manage to put some more on the doorstep. They easily find them and with Beths feet still there, they climb back up and eat the newly placed food. I later found out that Beth had scrunched her toes up, just in case! I stop feeding and the badgers wander off in different directions, as usual. We pack up and head back up to the farm. On the way we come across a single badger out foraging, but he sees us coming and disappears into the hedge. Back at the farm we have a quick look around at the birds. It is fantastic that our native owls are so fantastic. The Long Eared Owl looks stunning, the Barn Owl is the essence of a British owl and the Tawny is another beautiful bird. To top off the collection, the Little Owl is unbelievably cute (although he does like pecking people, apparently). A lovely collection of owls, and that doesn't include the Eagle, Boobook, Great Horned, Grass and Snowy Owls that also live here.

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