Sunday, April 18, 2010

Badgering about in a local wood

Yesterday, I spent a very enjoyable morning in the amiable company of Mick, John, Don, Angela, Richard, Bob & Peter, members of the Bedfordshire Badger Group. We were checking on setts and other signs in a local wood.

We found a number of active setts, both here at the main sett, and at setts in other parts of the wood. You can just make out the remains of some of the bedding that has been dragged down into the sett. Another giveaway is the presence of flies entering and leaving the sett entrance. I did try putting my head right into the entrance of a few of the holes, too, hoping to hear the distant rumbling of a snoring occupant, but to no avail. But I was reassured that this made me a 'real naturalist'! :-)

This is one of the most obvious signs of active Badgers....fresh poo!! And its fairly obvious that this was deposited last night. This Badger latrine was next to the main sett, but we found latrines all over the wood!

The claw marks on this tree trunk are obvious. I remember the first time I ever watched this sett - I sat down next to a fallen trunk like this, not realising that it was the cubs' primary playground. I was treated to three cubs playing right next to me, jumping up and down and chasing one another along its length!

This fallen tree trunk had been ripped apart - the result of Badgers searching for grubs and other succulent treats in the midst of the decaying bark.

This dead Badger has been lying here for about a month. It's a sow and may have died naturally, though we could feel a marked dent in the forehead, probably the result of an accident. The bony sagittal crest could also be felt running longitudinally up the forehead. Although the Badger looked small, this well-developed feature revealed that it was well-grown when it died.

Even though we were in the depths of the wood, there was plenty of colour and life enjoying the warm sunshine filtering through the branches of the trees. Primroses were flowering all over the wood.

We came across this Red Fox scat on the relatively high stump of a freshly-felled tree. It illustrates vividly how Foxes will advertise their territory on raised objects. Those raised and jagged shards of wood means that the Fox would have to have been careful!!

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