"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Saturday, 13 July 2013

An Unforgettable Evening with Badgers

Last night I had what is without doubt the most memorable wildlife experience of my life.

A member of the local Badger Group had very kindly invited me along to watch badgers at a local sett where he has been feeding and observing badgers for some years.

We arrived at the sett at about 8.30 and S began putting out peanuts and spreading peanut butter on branches. Within minutes he had called me over and there, within 6 feet of where I was standing, was a badger sow nicknamed "Rag Ear" feeding on peanuts at one of the sett entrances.

This is probably the worst badger photo you will ever see but it does record a very special moment for me. (The light in the woods was so low that the shutter remained open for about 5 seconds! I could have used flash but I wasn't going to jeopardise my chance of further badgerwatching).

I then experienced two magical hours watching badgers emerging from sett entrances, scampering along a nearby hedgerow, frolicking amongst the vegetation and a pair feeding just yards away from where I sat. I have so many memories that will stay with me for ever.

I feel so privileged to have been able to watch these beautiful wild mammals and share in their world for a while. Huge thanks to S.


Countryside Tales said...

Wonderful! I haven't seen badgers in the wild since I was a girl. Lucky, lucky you.

Chris Rohrer said...

Oh my gosh!!! That is so amazing! I know that excitement you refer to.....keep them secret; keep them safe:) Sorry I've been away for awhile so I'm catching up today with my coffee....looking forward to reading your adventures. I'm so happy you got to see these animals. And yet inside my head, I am fighting back words about the government and their cull. They aren't very nice so I won't write about how ignorant they are:)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Believe me I do know how lucky I was :) I've only ever had fleeting glimpses of them on Isle of Wight in recent years.

Chris Rohrer - Many thanks - Don't worry re: comments - love hearing from you whenever you are able and I know you've been off on adventures galore which I can't wait to read about :)

I know its very sad must admit seeing them so close was tinged with sadness thinking of the cull that could start at any minute. Though thank goodness not in our area (yet). Watching them move around in the dark brought home to me how impossible it will be to shoot them cleanly in the dark. I dread to think how many injured badgers there will be. The whole thing is just horrendous and so cruel and unselective and unscientific. Oh dear, better stop!!

Em Parkinson said...

About ten years ago, when we lived down in the village, we had a male badger who would visit the garden every night at around midnight. It was absolutely thrilling and I completely understand your excitement. We have a film of him somewhere but no photos unfortunately.

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson - How wonderful - I am so envious of people who get them visiting gardens!! It must have been great :)

Wendy said...

This is such a coincidence, I'm going include some pics of our local badgers in my next post! Fantastic to see and hear about the Badgers you watched. It is a real thrill seeing them. They are very special and wonderful creatures.

Pete said...

nice one! never went to st paul's cathedral on portland?

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Oh goody - looking forward to seeing your photos and hearing about your badgers. Son has been telling me off for not using flash especially as I was told I could!!!!

Pete - lol!!! Should have worded it a bit better!

SeagullSuzie said...

What a teriffic way to spend an evening. I'm delighted to hear how much you enjoyed them. I've never seen one. Paignton Zoo does badger evenings so I think me and hubby will have to book one.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Oh yes! do go!! Absolutely magical although I am suffering from insect bites about 30 :( Some places do visits where there are hides and floodlit setts :)

Lou Mary said...

Fantastic!! Sometimes it is just nice to watch things rather than worrying about taking a good photo! I haven't ever seen badgers like this - unfortunately sightings are usually of the poor things which come into contact with our busy roads :( I too get very cross thinking about the cull. Grrr.

Ragged Robin said...

Lou Mary - Many thanks. You are right - to be honest I wasn't going to take the camera as I just wanted to enjoy every minute of the experience. Then Steven who took me mentioned taking a camera and my son encouraged me. I have kindly been sent some much better photos of Rag Ear by S so do have a better memento!! I was very privileged to be able to watch them - in the past sadly as you mention the only ones I have seen in Warks have been road kill :( Have only had briefest of glimpses of live ones on hol on Isle of Wight.

The thought of the cull is horrendous - my twitter feed is full of it!