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Posts Tagged ‘roadkill’

OK, yeah.  I know.  It’s been a while.  I can’t make excuses, other than to say that running a family and career takes almost all my time these days.

Anyhow, something happened this morning that is worthy of recording for posterity.  Mrs BWM left for the early shift at work.  About half a mile from the house she came across the body of a dead animal by the side of the road.

Now, roadkill deer are pretty common in these parts, mostly Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer, and you quickly get used to them.  But Mrs BWM has obviously picked up some of my roadkill obsession because she had a good look as she drove past.

And it wasn’t a deer.  It had a big long tail.  And little short front legs.  In her words “there’s a bl**dy dead kangaroo on the road!”  She’s a great wife and she snapped a pic with her phone.

Bedfordshire Wallaby

Bedfordshire Wallaby

Yup – it’s a dead kangaroo.  Actually, I’m no expert, but I’m guessing it’s a wallaby.  I’m also guessing that it’s an escapee from the nearby safari park.  There’s a rumour that there are a fair number of them living wild in the local area.  This isn’t so far-fetched – there are a number of naturalised wallaby colonies in the UK, and frankly so many species have escaped from Woburn over the years and become naturalised (from Muntjac to Wels catfish) that one more isn’t surprising.

Mind you, if there were more of these in the area then I’d have expected to either have seen one or heard about them.  If wallabies are hopping across the main road like this one did (albeit unsuccessfully) then you’d think more people would notice.  As it is, there is someone in Bedfordshire now who is trying to explain that they got the dent in their car from crashing into a kangaroo last night…

 

 

 

 

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Scarlett in the Field Behind My HouseOK, I haven’t done much for a while, I admit.  Mrs BWM has been working at the weekends (including a practice event for the Olympics – she’s a volunteer announcer and they were having a dry run) so I’ve been on parenting duty and confined to home except for the odd short walk.  I remember the good old days when Scarlett was little and she’d happily be carried for hours.  Not any more.

But this is still my diary, so I have a few things to note.  Firstly, I came across another dead badger on the main road.  I saw it this morning on my way to the shops, in almost exactly the same place as the road casualty of July 23rd.  On that occasion the dead badger vanished, causing me some confusion.  I looked closely at this one, to make sure that I wasn’t imagining it.  Good thing too, as by the time I came back an hour or so later, the badger had disappeared.  There must be a sett around here somewhere; and I can only imagine that, being a main road, the bodies get picked up pretty quickly.  I wonder how many road casualties occur that I don’t notice, even in our village?

While we’re on this morbid subject, we’ve had some trouble from a fox attacking chickens lately.  There are at least a couple of foxes locally – I see their tracks regularly – but not nearly so many as we had in London.  This is pheasant country, and there are rearing pens around the village.  The keepers are not fond of foxes.  Probably not fond of any other carnivores either, but certainly not foxes.  Incidentally, a couple of years ago a fox got into the penguin enclosure at the nearby safari park and wreaked terrible havoc among the young penguins.  Foxes were even less popular around here after that, I can tell you.

Anyway, our neighbour lost one chicken last week, killed in daylight.  A couple of days later, our own Mabel went the same way, a patch of feathers telling the story.  Poor Henrietta had a narrow squeak but escaped with cuts and bruises, only to fall victim on Friday.  So it’s RIP Mabel and Henrietta.  They’d had a good life – four and a half years – with no trouble.  They have a fox-proof house in which they sleep, but this is the first time we’ve had a fox in the daytime, hence their run is not fully protected (which takes either a 6-foot tall dug-in fence, or an electric one).

On the whole, I like foxes.  They are attractive, interesting to watch and great survivors.  They do what they do, not out of spite or malice, but to eat and live.  But I love them a little less after this.

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Road Casualty Badger

Well, Mrs BWM and Scarlett are still on holiday in Anglesey, braving the gales, but I’m back in Bedfordshire.  I’m here alone with just a somewhat neurotic cat for company.

Anyway, I have another badger road death to record.  I came across this one on the way to work this morning, in a wooded area to the south of the village.  I didn’t have time to look closely (especially not in my best suit), but it was a fully grown adult.

I’ve never seen any signs of badgers in this area before, but it’s a badgery sort of place – woods and fields and no houses.  My long-term plan of logging badger deaths in the area is meant to give me a record that I can refer back to and look for patterns, but it also helps to track badger setts too.  If my mapping of territories is correct, badgers around here control an area with a radius of 350-500m from their home sett.  This means that every time you see a dead badger on the road, there is probably a sett within 500m.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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Yet another road casualty

When I drove to work on Wednesday there was another dead badger on the road through the woods on the outskirts of the village, almost exactly the same spot as the casualties of October last year and April this year.  I had a train to catch so I couldn’t stop to check the sex, but it looked fully grown.  When I came home at the end of the day it had been moved from the road (hopefully just onto the verge, but you hear odd rumours of people taking dead badgers away.  I don’t even want to think what for…)

This makes three badgers in a year killed here, almost certainly from the same sett.  I hope the sett is big enough to withstand the losses.  It must be a fairly active one – I’ll have to see if I can locate it when I get time.

So it goes…

I’m aware that anyone visiting this site will be confronted by depressingly regular tales of dead badgers.  I’m sorry about this.  It isn’t my intention to focus on unpleasant matters just for the sake of it.  What I want to do is to build up an archive of badgers in my local patch.  By recording the road casualties here in my diary (and I only include the ones in or immediately around my village), it means that I’m saving the information.  Perhaps it is just the scientist in me, instinctively collecting data, but in years to come it may reveal a pattern.  Nevertheless, if we get many more road deaths I may need to find a less public way to record them.

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