Today has turned out to be a glorious, sunny spring day. A day for being outdoors, if ever there was one. Mrs BWM kindly took parenting duty and I headed off up to the wood.
It’s definitely spring now. The first leaves are on the trees, the lambs are playing in the fields and the primroses are in flower in the glades in the wood. We’ve had a week of warm, sunny weather, and everything seems to be bursting into life.
By way of a contrast to my usual pictures of badger poo, here’s some fox poo instead. At the top of the wheat field there is a large stone, presumably thrown there after being uncovered by the plough. It’s a very handy stone for knocking the mud off your boots after the walk up the field. A fox has chosen it as a place to deposit its poo. Like badgers, foxes use scat as a territory marker. Unlike badgers, who put their dung in holes, foxes invariably choose prominent places such as stones, molehills or tufts of grass. More extrovert, I suppose.
The wood itself was busy, with muntjac and fallow deer, plus a hare that I startled out of cover. Hares are usually thought of as a species of open fields and grasslands, but I’ve seen them quite a few times in the middle of woodland now, and they seem perfectly happy there.
The badger sett also seemed to be doing nicely, with signs of activity at five of the holes at least, including one with a huge new mountain of a spoil heap at the east end. I’m hopeful that there’ll be cubs this year, so this sort of excavation is a good sign.
At 6.20pm a good hour or so before dusk, a badger appeared across the ravine at the east of the sett and was soon lost among the trees. A good start. At 6.54 another badger appeared briefly by the big new spoil heap. It sniffed for a minute or so before vanishing back underground.
At 7.40 the badger reappeared, accompanied by another. One badger trotted off to forage; the other stayed by the hole. So far, so good. All three badgers at the sett ticked off, albeit at a distance and quite briefly.
One minor mystery remains. All three badgers were in the east end of the sett. The west end holes, however, showed clear signs of activity, with fresh spoil and dung pits visible. Does this mean that one of the badgers is spending time here as well as at the other end? Or might another badger be in residence? This goes right to the heart of my ongoing questions about movement within a sett, but as always, only time will tell.