Wednesday 28/10/09 - A great night!

It's been a nice afternoon here in sunny Gloucestershire and it's now turning into a pleasant autumnal evening. I arrive at the Barn Owl Centre at about 6.00pm straight from work. I'm relieved that I can still get here to see the badgers if I get away from work ontime. It is pretty dark by now but there is an almost clear sky and a bright moon shining, so not that dark really. As I walk across the car park I see a shooting star. A good omen?
The Support Act                         

I don't hang around once I get into the Centre now. It is a quick chat, pick up some food and off down to the hide. Although quite short, it's a nice walk down to hide, maybe four minutes. Tonight, with no wind and millions of stars and lots of autumny smells on the air, it is very pleasant. I get to the hide and no badgers out before me. I put the cameras, torches, etc, into the hide and come out to put the food out. A large bird table has been installed opposite the hide and I always wander over a put some nuts and badger/fox food onto this in the hope a fox will come along one night and jump up onto it. No luck yet, and it's too tall for a badger to access. As with last night, I put the net down tonight, just like the good old days. With some inconsistent showings last week and some badgers appearing which are not regular visitors meaning they are quite nervous, I've resorted to this for now. The views are almost as good and it still gives the opportunity for a photo or two, as you can see.

The first thing to show is the mouse. I only hear him at first as I don't illuminate the inside of the hide for obvious reasons. As it's all quiet outside the hide I decide to try and get a picture of the mouse. I move into his corner and put a diffused torch on, having already left some peanuts out for him. After the disturbance of me moving, it's not too long before he's back out. With the compact camera held down low and finger on the shutter release, as he appears I take a shot. It doesn't come out too bad and the flash doesn't bother him. He grabs a nut and runs off to stash it somewhere. A few minutes later, he's back and I manage another shot. He grabs another nut and disappears. I decide to leave him in peace and move back over as the badgers should be about soon. I've not been back in my usual position for more than a couple of minutes when I hear a badger eating. He's to the right of the hide and I can't yet see him, but he's there. As I watch, the badger moves into view coming towards the feeding area. I think he is a she and it's one of my regulars, the slightly larger of the two. Bearing in mind I haven't seen the smaller one for a few days now, I'm slightly concerned that something may have happened to the younger animal. As you see these animals more and more, you do become concerned if they don't show up for a while.

        A Gorgeous Stripey Head
Out of the darkness, another stripey face is appearing. As it gets nearer, I can see it is the younger animal I have been worried about. That's good news! Back to my regular two tonight, unless any others appear. I'm quite happy with that, one is good enough for me. Having said that, with two, you do get the interaction and little things. like when the younger one first appeared, the other one stopped eating, turns around and has a good look to see who is coming. Once identified, feeding continues, possibly at a slightly quicker rate than before! With the two badgers there, the remaining food disappears at quite a rate; the loud crunching of the fox/badger food very noticeable. I whistle and throw some nuts out and immediately both badgers converge on the nuts and start pushing each other to get a better share. I do this a couple more times and the argy bargy continues each time. This pushing appears to be friendly and if one animal has a superior postition and blocks the other animal, there is no escalation of violence; the other animal will begin sniffing around looking elsewhere for its food. I stop feeding and the badgers separate and sniff intently around the feeding area looking for anything that's been missed. They keep coming back to the door and I swear they are looking at me as though to say "Go on, give us a bit more" At one point the younger badger lies out straight with his head on his paws! It looks so comical, I almost give in and feed him some extras, but I don't. The one badger has drifted off up towards the main path and the younger animal sniffs around for a while and eventually disappears to the right of the hide. A lovely evening with some great company!

Badger Fact
A badger can dig faster than a man with a spade, allegedly.

No comments:

Post a Comment