Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Missing Season

It almost seems that we have jumped straight from Autumn into Spring. Apart from a couple of frosty starts and the lightest dusting of snow that soon vanished as temperatures quickly reached around 14ÂșC, it has predominantly been wet and mild.

Many plants and animals have been fooled into acting like it’s spring in these mild conditions, but there is still time for a proper cold snap to put this right and reset the calendar so to speak.

The fields are again full of ewes heavy in lamb, and we will soon be hearing their plaintive bleats, another event that signifies the onset of spring in my mind. This mild weather has done wonders for the grass, so the lactating ewes with have plenty of nutritional grazing. The other side of that coin is, I’m not sure my old lawnmower will manage the first cut of the year in the back garden. I wonder if I could borrow a sheep?

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This weekend finds me full of cold and suffering like only a man can. I came home from work on Friday after valiantly struggling through the day and slumped on the settee feeling pretty sorry for myself. At around 8pm, I still hadn’t moved when I receive a phone call from my daughter to inform me of a road causality Badger she had spotted that looked like it was still moving. She was concerned but unable to stop on the busy road. That was enough to drag me off the settee and I followed her directions to the badger.

The road was unlit, fast, and the badger was on a blind bend. I drove past it and turned the car around. I managed to pull up close to it with my hazards on, but felt very exposed on the blind bend. I’m glad my daughter had more sense than to put herself in the position I was now in! I quickly checked the badger, it had not survived the collision, I then got myself out of the situation. I really didn’t fancy meeting a similar fate.

              Unfortunately, this is the only time most people get to see a Badger.

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I had my trail camera and a few peanuts in the boot of the car, the cool evening rain and air had eased my headache and my breathing, so I decided to stay out a little longer. With badgers on my mind, I headed to my favorite little sett. I have mentioned this sett before, it is the one that was badly damaged last year. I didn’t see any badgers for a couple of months, but eventually, there were signs that at least one badger had returned.


It was raining heavily by the time i reached the sett, I placed the camera in a suitable spot, scattered a few peanuts about, then headed for home. I have only seen one badger since the sett was damaged. There were three in this small sett. I’m hoping the trail camera will reveal that there is more than just a solitary badger resident.

I had a terrible night, sleep just eluded me. Unable to breath, sneezing, coughing, I gave it up as a bad job and got up for a coffee about 4.00am. I read for a while and then at around 5.30am, headed off to check the camera out and see what activity there had been. I arrived at around 6.10am, I didn't encounter anything of mention on the walk down in the dark. I quickly flicked on my head torch and was disappointed to see the peanuts were still where I had spread them. I took the memory card out of the camera and again headed for home.

I was suprised to find on the memory card a badger picture!


If you look at the time recorded on the photo, it’s 6.02am. Just one badger and it probably encountered the peanuts on its return journey to the sett after a nights forging. I arrived here about 8 mins after this picture was captured. No doubt it heard me coughing and spluttering across the fields well before I got anywhere near and vacated the area. 

I do hope this badger isn’t the only inhabitant of this sett, I will keep an eye on things over the next few months.


Saturday morning and Pete and I visited Middleton RSPB for a wander about; we haven’t been for a while and it made a refreshing change. We had hoped that the Drake Smew reported on Friday was still about, but we didn’t locate it; we did however have our first Redpoll, Oystercatcher and Goldeneye of the year. As always, a great place to visit.

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