The New Badger Watching Season

At last, it’s getting warm enough in the evenings for me to consider badger watching again. In previous years, following the autumn dispersal to neighbouring setts (and possibly road casualties), my local sett has started the year with up to four badgers in residence. This year there are six, a mixture of mature adults and some of the six cubs they had last year. The cubs are now fully grown of course, so it’s quite difficult to tell who’s who. If the clan produce another six cubs this year, the sett will be rather crowded! So far, there is no sign of any and I wouldn’t expect to see them until the end of April or early May.

The badgers grooming and picking up the last of the peanuts

On Saturday night I had a long wait for the first badger to cautiously emerge from the sett. Once it had started on the peanuts I’d left out, three more badgers appeared in quick succession. It was totally dark by then, so all I could really see was the picture on the flip-out screen of my camcorder, with its infrared light. I heard noises over to my right and swung the camera around to find two more badgers rummaging in the leaf litter. One had found something large to eat, but was having a struggle getting it down. The other was watching, but with no great enthusiasm to take a share. I thought it might be a mouse, but after seeing the video later I’ve decided it was rabbit. Whether the badger had found and killed a young one, or was just picking up some remains left by a fox, I don’t know.

Was it a small rabbit, or part of a bigger one?

The group on my left finished their peanuts and had a grooming and bonding session before they all moved off to the fields to look for worms. After so much activity, it suddenly went quiet and I knew it was time for me to leave as well.

Group bonding session

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