If you read my last post you’ll know that I’m being unfaithful to ‘my’ badgers and investigating the neighboring sett – the Pine Tree sett. This sett seems to have three main holes spread widely apart. Last night I watched the southernmost hole without a sign of any badgers. Tonight I decided to have a look at the northern hole.
This hole is at the bottom of short but steep bank, about 8′ high. Because of the wind direction I elected to lie in the grass on the top of the bank and peer over the edge, with the wind blowing directly up the bank towards me. To begin with this was quite a luxury – badger watching while lying in grass, instead of sitting on a thin tree branch or in a patch of nettles. After an hour of lying motionless though I had pins and needles in my legs and the blood was pooling uncomfortably in my head. And I do this for fun?
At 8.35pm the stripey head of a badger popped out of the hole. Success! So there are badgers here after all! A few seconds later it popped back down again.
I was sure it hadn’t scented me, as I’d been very careful to take the long way round when I walked in so the sett was always upwind. I was also pretty sure it hadn’t spotted me, partly because I was fully camouflaged and hidden behind the grass, but mostly because a badger that sees something suspicious will usually try and sniff the air to make sure, and this one just disappeared. There was nothing for it but to wait and see.
About 10 minutes later the badger reappeared, and to my horror it started climbing the bank towards me. Another few feet, I thought to myself, and you’re going to get a surprise! Luckily the badger wasn’t climbing to the top of the bank. It was gathering grass for bedding, pulling it out with its mouth and shuffling back to the sett once it had got a reasonable load. I always enjoy watching badgers doing this, there’s something strangely endearing about it.
Here’s a brief video of the badger:
The badger made three bedding trips in all and then stayed underground, no doubt arranging things in its chamber. I decided not to push my luck and sneaked off. It had been a great close-up view, but I didn’t want to spoil things on my first visit to the sett.
As ever, questions remain. I only saw one badger. Are there more in this part of the sett? Is it just a solitary bachelor in residence? Why are the holes in this sett so far apart? How do the badgers from each hole interact? The paths between the holes suggest that they do, but the behaviour seems very different from the communal get-togethers I’ve observed at the other sett.
I shall do what I always do – go back to the textbooks and keep watching!