Thursday 24/9/09 - A "standard" night

As I'm trying to cutback a little on the time I'm spending over at the hide so I can update the blog a little more regularly, for example, I'm tending to miss out on watching on a Wednesday night. I still go over to feed, but don't stay to watch. So, nothing to report for last night.

Tonight I go over and have a chat with Vince and Juliette, load up with peanuts and down to the hide. It is about a quarter to eight and as I arrive at the hide, a badger is already sniffing around looking for nuts. I turn on the torch to get a better view and he trots off into the hedge. I quickly go over and open the hide, put some nuts and dog food out and I put the net down tonight. Not sure why, it just seemed the right thing to do. I place myself to the right of the door on a small foldup stool I have down there. By time I've settled in and checked the time, got the camera out and put a light on, a badger is already in the feeding area. He came from the right of the hide, the same way the early visitor disappeared when I put the torch on, so probably the same animal. A second appears from the main path and works his way towards me. As badgers forage independently, it's every badger for himself and when they do meet, as they do in front of the hide, you would think they may get a little defensive. Luckily, the worst I've seen is the argy bargy that takes place when I throw additional nuts out. Badger clans are hierarchichal, meaning there is a pecking order with each animal having its place. Oddly, the two regulars I get don't tend to follow this pattern. One is larger than the other, but the smaller one pushes the other off food as often as the larger animal does the smaller, maybe more. Perhaps they are equal with the hierarchy? Most of the time they are very happy eating alongside each other. This is what they are currently doing, sniffing around and munching nuts side by side. They are now close to the hide and as I've left a small gap in the net in front of me, I place a few nuts on the doorstep. I decide not to throw any additional nuts out tonight and just sit and watch the animals feeding.

        Badger at the Door
The nuts are now running out, dog food gone and the badgers begin sniffing around checking nothing is left. This is where they can get very close to the hide and is normally when they find food on the doorstep and this is what happens tonight. The smaller badger finds the food on the doorstep and tucks in. He is really close, less than a foot from my knee. It manages to knock a few nuts into the hide whilst eating and once the nuts on the step are gone he looks interested in the ones inside the hide. He sniffs and starts moving his head further in. Being this close, it's all a bit exciting and it looks like he's coming in! If he puts his foot down, it will be on my leg. I decide to move and he pauses, then backs out of the hide. He then continues sniffing around outside, but the movement didn't scare him, just put him off. That is a good result; that close is quite close enough but I didn't frighten the animal and he wanders off on his own, eventually. His feeding friend has already left so it's time for me to pack up and head back to the farm. I always leave a few more nuts outside the hide in case I get some visitors later in the evening. The reality is that the two that have already visited will come back, but who knows?

Badger Fact
A badgers main food source is earthworms. They can eat up to 200 a night! I can see why they enjoy peanuts so much...

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