Badgers

I was glad to read today that the planned badger cull has been postponed for another year. Having watched them many times in the wild, I am so glad that they’re being left alone for a while longer. Well, legally anyway.
Badger baiting happens frequently in the countryside as one of the ways to illegally cull these delightful animals. I’ve seen the results of baiting on occasion and it is not pleasant.

There’s a wood near here where there is a biggish sett, full of badgers. At dusk, it’s wonderful to stand nearby and watch as the family come out to feed and play. You have to stand very still and always upwind, otherwise they spot you very quickly. But watching badgers is one of the loveliest things to do…

Talking of wildlife, there’s quite a bit of it around here just now. Last week on our walk, I encountered a deer. Luckily Archie was ahead of me and didn’t see it, but it was in the wood about 6 feet from where I was standing. I stood stock still watching until it suddenly got my scent and shot off, leaping over shrubs and out of sight in seconds.

Then in the garden the other week, we had a hedgehog. It stayed for a few nights, enjoying the birdseed that had been discarded from the table. I’d put out some meal worms for the robin that comes every day, and they were on the ground, where the robin prefers to feed. Ideal for a hedgehog and one of the tastiest snacks they can get! He spent each day in the bushes in the garden, coming out after dark to rummage for the mealworms. Unfortunately, Archie scared him off by barking at him, although I think we were only a temporary lodging as he was on his way to find a good spot to hibernate…

The robin isn’t the only bird we have. There are sparrows, starlings, great tits, green finches, crows and pigeons. We even have a beautiful collared dove who comes to the bird table, manoeuvring himself onto it by shuffling along a branch on the cherry tree and hopping over just at it starts to bend too far. They are all a joy to watch, although they’re eating me out of house and home!

There is huge bay tree in the garden that blocks a lot of light getting to the house. I had arranged to get it cut down in the spring until a blackbird decided to build her nest in it. She successfully raised her chicks and now the nest has been empty for some time, but the tree is still there. I haven’t the heart to chop it down and deprive all the little birds of their cosy winter home. The foliage is so dense they are protected from even the most freezing of nights. Maybe after the winter ill just get it thinned out….

Before the blackbirds come back!


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