The silent Watcher……

This isnt realy a birding blog but i did like to share it with you all just so you’ll better understand my love for all wildlife not just Birds….
I hope that you’ll read and enjoy my encounter like i did at the time… This is my Blog…

The silent Watcher……

Firstly I apologise for the luck of photos in this blog, the reason that there isn’t any is because of the subject matter and the LAW.

Anyway I hope that you enjoy reading this Blog and that you are able to get something out of it…

I have been interested in the subject for many months now and have slowly been getting their trust by visiting the area twice a week for the last 2 months sitting quitely ………

This is my Close encounter with wild badgers.

I arrived at 7-30pm and tested the wind direction first of all using dry soil, only to discover that where I wanted to sit the wind would blow my scent right onto the sett.. The sett is the largest of 4 setts in a valley and cannot be approached from main roads at all… I am sure that there is a large family of badgers living in this one as there is 7 entrances although to date I had not seen hair or hide of one.. So first thing I had to do was move right round to the other side of the sett.. Not easy as I had to climb over two barred wire fences and walk along a cliff top with a 10 foot drop the other side, but after a short while I was able to get into the position I wanted and settle down to wait….

While waiting I watched a beautiful sunset, listening to the sounds of the countryside all around me the rooks calling from a top the rookery telling everyone they were there or was they informing everyone that I was there… one wondered.

Over head Buzzard circled scanning the ground below for anything dead or a young Rabbit to interested in feeding to watch for danger, while the sparrow Hawk sat on the old tree watching the sky for a pigeon to chase.

Slowly the sun started to drop behind the distance hill and the shadows started to lengthen as daylight give way to dusk and still I sat quietly with my back against a tree, a tawny owl flew into it above me before flying off for a hunt along the nearby hedgerow and fields.

Stillness came to the woods as the last dieing ambers of the sun dipped behind the hill and darkness distended.

Still I waited a silent watcher in the dark, was I being watched I wondered. Not moving a muscle I turned my head from left to right peering into the darkness and did a 180% scan of the woodland before settling my eyes back on that now darkening patch of grey earth that marked to main Hole where I was hopping the appearance of an animal that sums up the British woodland at night would emerge from.

With the light fading fast now my eye became rooted to that patch of earth, like a magnet pulling two pins to it so strong was my focus. ‘There‘!! Was that movement I saw, yes there to the left… I peered harder to see a shape, a Rabbit hopped along the bank and appeared out of the darkness…then another, and another as they started to leave the safety of their burrows that were a little way along the same bank as the set.

Still I watched and waited not daring to breath with pain from ever stiffening muscles, muscles that hadn’t moved for the best part of two hours… would I see anything?? I wondered… have they left in the darkness by another entrance.. 100’s of questions was going through my head as I wondered if indeed I had made a mistake and they had heard me, smelled me…

Still I waited, then There!! What was that!! A shape appeared at the back by the old oak tree … I couldn’t move, frozen to the spot as slowly but surly I watched.. Then another to the right and another then there they were 20 feet in front of me live, wild and free I couldn’t believe it. I had to stop myself from shouting as first one, then another black and white shapes started to appear. Their shape clearly seen with the black and white striped face looking towards me.. YES YES YES. Could they see me I wondered all of a sudden, panic in my thoughts, was I to close… I watched as they moved around and smelled the air testing it for danger, stopping every now and then to listen to the night, what I wondered could they hear could they hear my breathing …. Ho wow wee I couldn’t believe it as joy overcome me and I had to remember that I could still be heard if I moved..

They moved around a while and walked up and down the bank, stopping every few yards to listen and smell the air before walking into the field behind the bank in search of a worm or two to eat..

By now it was very dark and I couldn’t see much in front of me, where were they in the darkness I wondered I had counted 3 but were there others I wondered others I had not seen that had walked away from the very back of the set to feed. My body ached from the sitting in the one position for lord knows how long that I have done but I knew it was worth it, but now I had a problem dare I move to stretch my stiff body?? slowly very slowly I stretched out my legs… where were they in the darkness.. Could they hear me… had I spooked them.. Questions I couldn’t possibly answer at the time as now it was so dark that I could only see inches in front of me well 6-10 feet at best, I listened for a while all the time scanning the darkness but I couldn’t hear them.. I hoped now that they had moved into the field to feed so I slowly started to edge backwards along the bank, stopping every few yards to listen and look but all was quite in the darkness as I saw nor heard nothing…

I slowly made it along the bank back to the path where I was now able to stand up and breath normally again for the first time in hours. I then walked back along the pathway thought the woodland and met up with the main dirt track which I would have to walk up for a mile to where I had parked my car.. Back at my car I sat in the seat and enjoyed a cold drink while turning on the heater to warm up and looked at the time 1-15am had I really been sitting in a dark, cold still wood for over 6 hours, did I really have a close encounter with a animal that’s sum’s up the good old English woodland at night….

DerekB49

Comments

12 Jan, 2011
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robashfield said:

Fantastic blog derek,would dearly love to see and photograph badgers in the wild...what an experience.thank you for sharing.
A very warm welcome to I spy!

12 Jan, 2011
Wren_nest_building_edited_2
littlewren said:

what a lovely blog....thanks for sharing.......I had never seen a live badger(plenty poor things by the road) until visiting Wales a couple of year ago when I saw one, during the day,running along a field....beautiful.... couldnt' believe how fast they can run......

12 Jan, 2011
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lincslass said:

I`ve never seen a badger, you have described your experience so well, I can understand your elation, thankyou for sharing.........

13 Jan, 2011
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bonkersbon said:

Wonderfully descriptive Derek felt like sat there with you , fortunately not for quite so long though.Amazing where the time goes when transfixed ..sad that these lovely animals still subject to persecution.

14 Jan, 2011
Redwing_2_copyrighted
derekb49 said:

Thanks you for your comment regards the blog... yes sadly the Badger days could well be numbered if this goverment as it way... i have returned a few times to the sett since that visit and have counted 8 adults altogether... I have had them walk right up to me and feeder inches away from where i have sat on the peanuts that i have thrown around and the peanut butter that i used as well... my last visit was just before xmas when i noticed that they had been active around the area of the main sett looking for worms and seeds.........

14 Jan, 2011
P1150022_1
jane said:

Just followed this..spellbound Derek.These beautiful creatures I would so love to see for myself..but your account was so vivid.Please continue to update..and shhhh..the location.

17 Jan, 2011
Dipper
david said:

No pics needed, Derek, great writing - felt as if I really were there. We have badgers in the grounds at work, and, sometimes, you will meet one even in daylight. I was saddened, arriving early one morning, to find one dead in the drive, presumably struck by a car.

18 Jan, 2011
Redwing_2_copyrighted
derekb49 said:

David

So glad you have all enjoyed this blog... i am hoping that i can get my spy camera back soon so i can set it up to watch the sett and hopfully get some images of the badgers....

18 Jan, 2011
Redwing_2_copyrighted
derekb49 said:

Thanks for your comment... yes its sad that you found the badger dead as you said struck by a car... its very possable that that was the reason of its death but i would like to point out that their are people who are going around the country killin the badgers then dumpping them at the side of the road to make its looks like a road kill... Working here in Shropshire with the wildlife trust we have found badgers that had been poisioned then left in the middle if a dark country road to be hit by the next car that comes along in order to make it appear as a road kill......

Just last year the trust had a tip off that someone was digging out badgers to kill... with the help of secret spy cameras they were craught red handed... and will appear in court very soon.....

18 Jan, 2011
Dscf8283
deida said:

fascinating blog ,thoroughly enjoyed it,thanks for sharing Derek

18 Jan, 2011
P1150022_1
jane said:

Thank you for this update Derek and hope these perpetrators are brought to justice soon. Would be lovely if you could get some photos from your Spy camera of these delightful creatures. Good luck..

22 Jan, 2011
Dipper
david said:

Many Thanks for the update here, Derek, and by PM. It all sounds so awful!! The badgers around my workplace are safe, though. It was just a very unfortunate accident, here, and, today at work, managed to find out who was responsible. Alas, (as feared) turned out to be a girl who actually was in the habit of putting out food for the badgers in bad weather. She was inconsolable, had to go home, and was off work for a week - poor soul!

24 Jan, 2011
Dscf1248

I read your blog with so much interest...you are really dedicated
to the Badgers 'Good for you....i have family, for whom the Badger is a complete nightmare!! They, do not seem to realise
that all the damage that they do to their garden & Patio is the
silly fault of developers!!! Building Houses on the poor Badgers
Habitat taking away their homes...can you blame the Badger
certainly not!! I love, Wildlife too, Derek, all animals deserve
people to stand up for them as unable, to do so themselves..
How anyone can harm any animal sickens me...i do hope as jane
mentioned these, perpetrators are caught & punished

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