First Visitor of the Year

As mentioned in the previous entry, Chris was coming to visit tonight in the hope of seeing a badger. Things are still pretty erratic at present, so not overly confident, although with Monday's viewing fresh in my memory, a lot more confident than I was.

Chris and myself turned up at the Barn Owl Centre at about 9.30. I filled my pockets with peanuts and as it was overcast and had been raining, light was fading fast, we went straight out into the gloom. First target area was the gate near to the sett which is normally pretty good for seeing something. I put a few nuts out and we settled down into the wet grass at the side of the footpath. It was about now the rain started falling again! It wasn't just drizzle either, but we stayed put for about twenty minutes, but no sign of any badgers. As the light was now almost gone, plus the fact we were getting wet, we set off for the hide. On the way down, we did hear a badger in one of the dry ditches, but it never materialised. Into the hide at about 10.15 with peanuts out in front, some quite close. I was even optimistic enough to put some on the door step of the hide! We waited for three quarters of an hour and nothing had shown. I had heard a badger moving behind the hide along the hedge, but it never came into the feeding area. At 11.20 I checked with Chris if he was OK for a bit longer. He said he was, but another ten minutes and I would call it a day. With a badger turning up at 11.30, if it stuck around for forty minutes, it would be well gone midnight and with work in the morning...

Just after 11.30, we called it a day in the hide and I just hoped we would see something on the way back up. We didn't, so I suggested going back to the gate near the sett where we had started the evening. We arrived there, and nothing. Feeling a little disappointed, I scanned the newly mown orchard area, but nothing out there, not even eyeshine. I literally gave the orchard one last scan with the torch and this time saw some eyeshine! I kept the beam on the animal and it was a badger. Not only a badger, but one of this years, it was tiny! It was about 20m away and had its head up and was sniffing wildly, but it stayed put for thirty seconds or more before heading for the long grass. It certainly wasn't the best view of a badger I've had, but it was first for Chris and I think he was really pleased. We went back up to the farm with a bit more of a bounce in our step than we'd had earlier. All in all, a slightly disappointed evening, but we did see one and that's what it's all about! Gone midnight by now so home to bed.

Thanks to Chris for being so patient and I hope he and his family enjoy the rest of their stay.

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