I admit that most of have my wildlife adventures have been solitary ones. This isn’t because I am by nature a loner, although sitting on your own outdoors is quite soothing, and it is true that one person can be a lot stealthier than a group.
No, one of the main reasons for me being on my own is that I haven’t yet successfully persuaded anyone else to come out with me. OK, the idea sounds attractive to people, but when it comes to it, the grim reality of sitting in the cold dark of the woods, waiting for an animal that may or may not make an appearance, or getting up at dawn to traipse through a muddy field looking for tracks, suddenly loses its appeal.
Not today though. This evening I had a whole gang of helpers along with me. Twenty-five of them, to be precise, and all very keen. I had agreed to help the local Beaver Scouts with a session of tracking and looking for badgers.
With 25 loud and enthusiastic 6-8 year olds, dressed in hi-viz clothing, you can work out for yourself the chances of seeing any badgers. But we had a great little walk. I put together a short ‘I-Spy’ leaflet for everyone with pictures of the tracks of common animals (badger, fox, muntjac, fallow deer, rabbit etc) for them to tick off and we headed to the field behind my house.
We had great fun finding deer tracks and dog tracks and ticking them off the list. It was good to see the Beavers getting stuck into the tracking game, and the adult helpers too. Mind you, the highlight of the walk was the badger latrine site, with real badger poo! It never fails to impress…
In fact, it was a thoroughly enjoyable little trip. And it was good to take a group of children out and show them a little of the wildlife in our own village, and perhaps build on their enthusiasm and encourage them to take a look around for tracks and signs the next time they’re out.