30 Nights Wild, night 21

We're three weeks into my month long badger watching challenge, and it's time to get a few things sorted out. When I wrote my introduction to the clan in mid-May, a certain amount of guesswork was involved. With such a small group of badgers I didn't think I could go far wrong.

However, it's now clear that 'Boris' is not the badger I thought he was. He's actually a female and the mother of one of the cubs. Back in May I watched Theresa, the sow with the split ear, bringing a small cub to the feeding site. It was not until early June that I realised there were two cubs at the sett. At about the same time, Theresa disappeared. I now think that Nicola, the smaller but more independent of the cubs, was Theresa's and Nigel is Boris's cub. He's more inclined to stay in the safety of the centre of the sett, with Boris. Now, when they've finished the food I put out for them, it's Boris that takes both cubs away to the woods for some proper foraging.

Tonight, I followed my usual routine of putting out food for the badgers, then returning to my car to collect camera equipment. On the walk back I heard a screeching noise from the brambles at the side of the path. It was a distressed rabbit under attack. I stood very still, hoping to see a stoat emerge with its prey, but although I could see movement in the brambles for a while, nothing appeared and it soon went quiet.

Nicola wasting no time

When I got back to the feeding site, Nicola was already out hoovering up peanuts. She ran back to the sett as I approached, so I crouched down beside a tree and waited for her to emerge again. She soon did and was followed by Nigel. I took some photos of the two of them, until a sudden shower of rain sent them scurrying back to the sett. It was just the noise of rain on the tree canopy that startled them. I took the opportunity to get up to my high seat and the cubs returned as soon as I sat down.

Nicola and Nigel

Jeremy emerged a few minutes later and then Boris appeared. She (Boris) was very wary, but eventually came out and had a few peanuts and some honey, before another sudden shower of rain sent them all rushing back to the sett again. Boris then took the cubs off to the woods and Jeremy set off in the same direction a few minutes later.


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