Monday, 28 June 2010

House-sitting, badger watching

I've been away "house-sitting" for a week for my daughter, who lives up a mountain very steep hill in Gloucestershire.  It does feel like a mountain to someone who lives in a bungalow on a level street, trust me.

Instructions Requests to feed the birds and badgers were probably the most important items on the lovely introductory letter she left for us, along with instructions on how to turn on luxuries such as water and the boiler, of course!  I've seen a photo of the badger on Rachel's blog, and was really, really keen to see it for myself.

I dutifully hid peanuts inder the rocks surrounding the bird feeders every evening at ten, see above, and waited.  The first time Rachel became aware of them was when they awakened her from sleep with their noise.  I didn't hear anything the first night, but next day I'm sure that one of the rocks was in different place, I'm certain I didn't leave it on the path.  Probably squirrels, David assured me.

Next night, at about half past ten, eureeka!!  I heard a grinding noise, could it be rocks being moved around by a hungry beast of the night?  Yes!! A stripey head was visible through the living room window.  I flew upstairs, (well, actually, the stairs are very old and somewhat creaky, so I crept quietly upstairs, but it doesn't have the same feel, does it?) and looked down.  Yes, definitely a badger.  He ran away as I tried to open the window wider to see him ... drat!

About half an hour later, the noises resumed.  He was back, and I watched him from the upstairs window, which I'd cunningly left open, for absolutely ages.  Fantastic.

The following night, he brought his partner along, so two of them scuffled and snuffled.  They do make the most tremendous din as they eat!!!

I've included a photo of the small area where the birds and badger are fed so that you can get some idea of scale - a badger isn't a monster, he's only the size of a dog, and low to the ground.  His brindled back fur makes him very difficult to spot in the bushes, but his stripes make him stand out beautifully, don't you think?

I'm not accustomed to taking night time photos, so I'm afraid the quality of some of the shots isn't as good as I'd like  it to be, but wow! live badgers just below the window, wow!!  We were sooo lucky.

In this last shot,  you can see the male badger as he's walking next to the porch, off to find better pickings at his next cafe stop!!


  1. I love it, now that I remember a story about someone almost hitting what they though was a skunk here, now I realize it was a badger!

    Lovely photos!


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