Badger Concern


I ended the previous post full of anticipation for a decent amount of rain. A large tarpaulin went down to increase the catchment area of the wild pond that so desperately needed topping up.


It was surprising to see that the Foxes didn’t seem to have a problem walking on this tarpaulin:

Trail camera

Trail camera

In the end we did have 20mm of wonderful rain.

Trail camera
A wet Fox after the rain.

Before the rain, at the hide pond:


And immediately afterwards:


Although subsequently there have been quite a few hot and dry days again and the levels have dropped right back down.

For the last three nights, the male Badger (Scarface) has not been able to put any weight on his left front leg:

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Badgers use their front paws to dig for their main food, earthworms, and without the use of this paw, my worry is that he will not be able to feed.

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I contacted the East Kent Badger Group yesterday and asked for any advice that they might have. Their view was that the most likely scenario is that he has a thorn in his paw and his body will sort this out itself although it takes a week to ten days to do so.

We doubled the number of peanuts that went out last night so that they lasted longer and that his share of them was larger. This resulted in a bit of a bonanza although none of these animals below are Scarface:

Trail camera

But here he is, eating them at 2.41am when ordinarily they would be long gone well before midnight:

Trail camera

However, reviewing the trail cameras this morning, we see that he has a large swelling in his upper arm and the problem probably isn’t his paw at all:

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I have got back in touch today with the Badger group and they are very helpful. However, there isn’t really much to be done because he would be next to impossible to catch in order for a vet to take a look at him. Things that can be tried, though, is to put out some Marmite on bread because the B vitamins in Marmite can apparently help. There are also some homeopathic Aloe Vera pills that are available from chemists that can sometimes give remarkable results. We will try both of these and hope that they, together with the simple passage of time, will work their magic.

A few days ago I visited Highgrove, the home of Prince Charles and Camilla in Gloucestershire. The gardens (..and the champagne cream tea) were absolutely fantastic and it is well worth going but their famous wild flower meadow was completely over by this time of year. All seed heads and nothing still in flower.

Grass is a much larger component of our meadows here and, at first sight, there is now no colour here either:


But in fact , looking closer, there is still quite a lot going on:

Lesser Knapweed going strong
Lovely patch of Scabious
Wild Carrot and Lesser Knapweed.
A large clump of Marjoram, absolutely covered in Butterflies and Bees when the sun shines.
Gatekeeper and Common Blue on Marjoram

There has been a welcome return of a lot of the summer Butterflies, now on their second brood of the year. Small Heaths, Brown Argus, Marbled Whites, Common Blues and Wall are once again dancing through the meadows.

Common Blue

The House Sparrows nesting in the House Martin box are busy raising their third brood of  young. I see that the male is ringed:



I am on a few Swift Groups on Facebook and from these I learn that Swifts are currently leaving the country in their droves and it is time to turn our Swift Call machine off for this year. It has proved to be such an effective Swift attractant and now we need some of the Swifts that have been sweeping over the meadows all summer to remember our box when they return next year. We plan to build a second one over the winter and also investigate installing a box camera because wouldn’t that be great.

Yellowhammer are still frequent visitors and they particularly like the painter tray ponds:

Trail camera
Female Yellowhammer on the right.


Foxes also drink a lot from these small ponds:

Trail camera

This next photo made me realise for the first time that Foxes tails are actually longer than their legs which feels like a poor design feature:

Trail camera

And I have a few more Fox photos to include as well:

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Trail camera

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Trail camera

We saw this tiny little Viviperous Lizard today warming up on top of one of the reptile sampling squares:


Viviperous Lizard eggs hatch inside their bodies and they ‘give birth’ to live young in July  but this is the first time we have seen one so newly born.

In the allotment area, there was this very large spider web in the Rosemary. It is the nest of the Nurseryweb Spider. These Spiders build their web not to catch prey but into which to place their egg sac so that it will protect the spiderlings once they hatch:


Nurseryweb Spiders often hold their legs in this distinctive formation:

Nurseryweb Spider. Pisaura mirabilis.
Nurseryweb Spider. Pisaura mirabilis.

I am now keeping an eye on this egg sac waiting for the babies to hatch.

The last photo from the meadows is of a Red-legged Shieldbug that was on one of the trail cameras:

Red-legged Shieldbug. Pentatoma rufipes.
Red-legged Shieldbug. Pentatoma rufipes.

The Shieldbug larvae feed on deciduous trees but the adults are partly predatory and eat caterpillars and other insects as well as fruit.

The young Bullfinch have kept on returning to the pond in the wood, although we haven’t now seen them or the adult Bullfinch for a few days. Did they just come here to breed?:


Here are some of the other visitors to the wood’s ponds over the last week or so:

Trail camera
One of this year’s young Great Spotted Woodpeckers with its red cap.
Trail camera
The adult male.
Trail camera
Juvenile Goldfinch
Trail camera
Fox cub at the painters tray
Fox cub at the other pond.
Trail camera
Trail camera
Male Sparrowhawk

We haven’t spent much time at the wood recently because there has been a lot on but we are planning on staying the night there next week, us and the dog. This is something I haven’t done before and which fills me with slight nervous apprehension. But I am sure it will be fine and, either way, I will report back here!



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