Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Badgers Galore

.A group of Friends of A Rocha UK met in Chorley to share  transport to the farm where the badger hide is situated. After parking in the farmyard, we walked up a small hill, over a short footbridge and then towards a hide. This was in a small, steep, wooded valley. Some of the group had never seen badgers before. With emotions telling our feet to rush, and our logic and age (for me at least) telling them to slow down, we made our way into the hide. It was just large enough for eight people and had large viewing windows. It also seemed to take on the atmosphere of a cathedral, with the trees resembling pillars, the leaf canopy shielding the evening sunlight, creating shadows and mysterious dark corners, and everyone whispering.

I had prepared the area in front of the hide by putting down some peanuts at the entrance to a number of holes. Suddenly some activity, but sadly only from a grey squirrel. After a short period of waiting, we saw the nose and then the head of a wood mouse. He continued to taunt us for a while. Then, with a great deal of snuffling and chomping, one, then another  badger ambled into view. As we watched, the supporting cast added to our evening show. A song thrush declared his territory to all and sundry, with great tits and wrens also making their contribution. Eventually a male tawny owl proclaimed to any passing interloper that this was his wood. The first two badgers were joined by four more, two of which got involved in a rough and tumble. We watched with a mixture of joy and awe. Here were wild badgers, completely at home, relaxed and healthy. After about an hour or so all the badgers drifted away and we took our leave of the hide. Driving away with an almost full moon visible through high wispy clouds, a little owl stood to attention, saluting us as we departed grateful for a fantastic evening

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