Sunday 31 July 2011

Badger Watching

I have been seriously neglecting this blog during the last few weeks. The reason this time is because I have been out virtually each evening watching badgers. I happened to wander through the woods just over our garden fence one evening and spotted a whole family by their sett. They are absolutely mesmerising to watch.

Badgers are protected in this country and it is an offense to disturb them at their sett. However, I don't really see the logic in this when they are planning to allow farmers to shoot them on sight in an effort to control bovine TB.

Anyway, because of this I don't have any photos to show. I just stand and watch them each evening just as it is getting dark. They are real little characters. Firstly, when they emerge, they have a good scratch - a seriously good scratch, even scratching each other. I guess if you had been holed up underground all day, you would want to scratch, too!

I just stand and watch in full view of them (but preferably downwind). Their eyesight must be very bad because they don't seem to see me. However, they do know I am there because they can catch my scent.

I have been sprinkling peanuts around the sett, which they love. They are so intent on getting the nuts that sometimes they come to within a metre of where I am standing. There is a baby one which is not quite so streetwise as its parents. This comes within 6 inches (15cms) of my boots!

It is quite magical.

Juvenile Jay

Now back to the garden - it is very busy at the minute. The birds seem to have had lots of success with their families. A little wren has just finished feeding her babies in a tiny nest hidden in the cotoneaster growing around our living room window.

The photo above is a baby Jay, out without its parents but it was with another sibling. Its brown feathers are still very fluffy and patchy, but the blue feathers have grown in nicely. The Jays are very shy, so photos are difficult.

The next photo is a juvenile Green Woodpecker. It looks very grown up but the speckled feathers show it is a youngster. There have been a lot of them around this year.

Juvenile Green Woodpecker

Finally, the baby Roe Deer that I mentioned a few weeks ago has turned out to be twins! I have still not managed a decent photo because the grass in the field out front has still not been cut. You can still only see their ears above the long grass.

Hopefully I will get a photo of them before too long.

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