It’s been a busy week, what with my new job, rushing around buying new suits and train tickets, painting the house and making jam. Nevertheless, I made time for some R&R today.
First on the agenda was the Bedfordshire County Show. This is more of a country fair than a proper agricultural show – there were no competitions for best cow, parsnip, sheepdog etc – although they did have a rabbit show and an exhibition of dancing sheep (don’t ask!). Like any country show it was a great day out, although I was a little disappointed that the ferret racing wasn’t on the schedule this year.
The Bedfordshire Natural History Society was very well represented, with a whole marquee of exhibits, including a fine display by the Badger Network. I’m very impressed with the quality of the work the society does. Many of the members are real experts in their fields and everyone is very happy to share their experience and knowledge. I learnt a great deal, not only about badgers, but also about local birds, moths and how to identify bat species.
It was good to talk to them. My hobby is considered eccentric (if not downright mad) by many people, so it is refreshing to meet like-minded folk. They’re the sort of people that understand when you talk about your experiences of standing by the side of the road in the dead of night, photographing the reproductive organs of a dead badger. Not many people can relate to that…
After spending time in the company of such enthusiasts, it was only natural that I went up to the wood in the evening. Despite the black clouds and the threat of heavy rain it was pleasant enough.
Last week, it seemed as if the badgers had moved to the east end of the sett. Today presented a different story. Three badgers came out of one of the western entrances at about 8.20pm. So, at least some of them are still in residence there. I still don’t know what the badgers are doing, or what (if any) significance there is to their moving between the different parts of the sett.
I had spoken to members of the society about my difficulty in sexing badgers. The advice they gave was ‘if you’re not sure, then it’s a female’. The accuracy of this statement was revealed to me when one of the badgers started grooming. In fact, that wasn’t the only thing that was revealed. As the badger sat there with its legs in the air, it showed itself to be quite definitely male!
I shot a little bit of video. The quality isn’t great due to the near darkness, but if you’ve ever wanted to see what a badger’s testicles look like then watch closely. This is your chance!