Monday 9/11/09 - A lovely encounter

Having discovered the badgers out early last night, it dawns on me that getting here before six isn't possible due to being at work. This was always a concern as the nights drew in and I'm not sure where it leaves me, or anyone wishing to join me watching the badgers. It may restrict it to the weekends only.

I'm fortunate tonight as I leave work early for a different reason, but it lets me get down to the Barn Owl Centre at around 5.30. I'm straight down to the hide and I'm ready to go with food out and one small torch on illuminating the area where the bulk of the food is. It seems 6.00 comes and goes in five minutes and no sign of a badger. 6.30 comes along and I've been entertained by the mouse stashing his food ready for those long winter nights when I may not be visiting. At 6.40, nearly an hour later than last night, a single badger appears from the left of the hide and he picks up a trail of nuts leading to the feeding area. At this distance, I'm not sure which badger it is, but as it draws closer I identify it as the smaller of the regulars. Not Margo. The badger is soon feeding confidently just in front of the hide and still moving closer. As he gets towards the end of the food I've put out, I whistle and throw some more nuts out to the badger. It immediately moves onto them and eats the lot! I do this again with similar results. For some reason the badger trots off to the right at this stage and it looks like he's gone for the evening. I give it a couple of minutes and then start to pack up. I'm knelt at the door sweeping the untouched nuts from the doorstep so I can close the door to the hide when I leave. I suddently realise the badger has returned coming right along the front of the hide and he reappears about two feet from me. I'm knelt in the middle of the doorway without my Buff covering my face with a badger two feet from me. I freeze. The badger comes across in front of the doorstep and begins eating the nuts I've been sweeping off the doorstep. Maybe a foot from my knees, he's happy eating peanuts. I decide to get brave and slowly move my hand into my coat pocket with a view to getting some more peanuts out. By now the badger has stopped eating and is watching me. I think he heard me first as my fleece, albeit very quietly, rustled with the movement. I whistle and move my hand towards the animal. He looks at me nervously, but only backs up a few inches. As I think he may run I drop the nuts and this seems to settle him down and he looks at the food. I withdraw my hand and he moves in right up to the doorstep. Eight inches from my knees which are resting against the inside of the doorstep. He finishes those nuts and looks up, expectantly. I whistle and this time drop the nuts on the doorstep. Again he backs up and looks like he's about to run. As soon as the nuts are down he takes an interest and moves closer. He then puts a paw tentativley onto the doorstep and lifts himself up. Here is a wild badger eating nuts off the doorstep between my knees! I can't believe how close he is and I'm grinning from ear to ear! Once he's finished the nuts he drops down and I try the same again. Unfortunately, he runs this time. I don't mind. What a fantastic thing to have experienced. This animal and Margo are real stars with the trust and bravery they show and I look forward to continuing to meeting them at every opportunity. I go back to the farm and then off home feeling pretty good. I can't watch tomorrow, only feed as I have a meeting to go to. Also, Wednesday is one of the nights I normally miss, although after tonight I could easily forget my other commitments for the next couple of nights, but that would be greedy, wouldn't it?

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