Winter Badger Watch

I usually start watching badgers in the spring, when the weather warms up a bit. Cubs are born in January or February and they first emerge from the sett at the end of April, or early May. It’s been so mild today that I decided to get down to Badger Wood and see what’s going on.

There was a chilly wind so I was glad I’d put on warm clothing. I’d only been in my seat for five minutes when the first striped face appeared from a hole right in front of me. The badger had a good sniff and look around, then went back down again. They always do that – I knew they’d be out once it got a bit darker.

While I waited, the rooks came in to roost noisily, geese honked, tawny owls hooted and a fox trotted past, unaware of my presence. Eventually a badger came out and went cautiously to the peanuts I’d left out for them. When he’d had enough he returned to the sett and I thought that might be all I was going to see. However, shortly afterwards, two badgers emerged and started, erm, making love, the male making bizarre churring noises. The female then came over to the peanuts, while the male had a good grooming session – always amusing to watch.

I heard, but didn’t see, two other badgers going under the fence into the adjacent field. I’ve still no clue as to whether there are cubs underground. I expect I’ll just have to wait until May to find out.

Edited highlights of the evening

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