The summer monsoon weather has been continuing, with rain all week. I swear that the vegetables in my garden have all grown a foot since last weekend, and everywhere the plants are lush and green. On the downside, the fields are muddy and the roads have been flooded for half the time, but at least there are now some sunny intervals in the rain.
I made a quick visit to the wood this evening. There was a party going on in the village somewhere, and they’d obviously hired a DJ and a PA system. I could hear the music clearly from the wood, which is about 3/4 of a mile away. I’m not sure whether the badgers were affected by the noise. They came out as usual just before 8.00pm. It was slightly surreal to be sitting in the trees amongst the timeless wonders of nature, watching badgers frolicking to a soundtrack of Macarena, Reach for the Stars and Is this the way to Amarillo?. They didn’t seem to show a preference for any particular tunes, so a golden opportunity for research into badgers’ preferences for cheesy pop music was lost.
To be honest, the badgers were in a jittery mood, but I put that down to my presence and the possibility that they could smell me. The damp weather and a slight wind meant that there was every possibility that my scent was being carried around unpredictably. Nick (see last post) was out and about, so it was good to recognise a particular badger. He was obviously suspicious. He would pace up and down, stopping to sniff the air every few seconds. I think that by moving backwards and forwards he was obviously trying to track down a particular scent – no doubt mine.
I left early, not wishing to disturb the badgers. I wonder how long it would take for the badgers to get used to my presence? I mean, I’ve been coming to this sett for a couple of years now, so they must know about me. You’d think that the fact that I’ve never lunged out of a tree and attacked them would put them at their ease a bit, but they still seem very wary. Perhaps they will one day learn that I’m not a threat, or perhaps they won’t. I suspect that badgers, like many wild animals, are strongly ‘neophobic’ – in other words they are afraid of anything new or different. Being quite a remote and undisturbed sett, they don’t see many people, so we’re all still quite new to them. On the other hand, I’ve watched them bolt in fear when a muntjac has barked nearby or when a wood pigeon has crashed through the trees, so maybe they are just timid by nature.