We have a lot of trail cameras beavering away on our behalf to give us a little insight into the private lives of the animals that call the meadows and the wood their home. This does, however, mean that every day we have a great many photos and videos to go through, most of which are immediately discarded for being blurry or uninteresting. But every so often there is something that makes you shriek out loud.
At 4.45am on Saturday morning, there was this:
A tiny, hairless Badger cub was moved out of the sett by its mother.
Then, at 5.01, she returned:
At 5.03. she reappeared carrying a second cub:
She returned again at 5.07:
Then, thrillingly, at 5.09, a third and final cub was carried out of the sett. Triplets this year.
We think that she has moved them to a burrow that is very close by, although clearly not actually joined underground to the one that she always gives birth in. We estimate that these cubs are a maximum of two weeks old and I read that cubs’ eyes don’t open until five weeks old.
This female Badger had a single cub in 2017 (the year we first got a camera on the sett), twins in 2018 and 2019 and now she has given birth to three young. She is such a good mother, fiercely protective and firm but fair to her cubs. I think probably all Badger mothers are like that, but we have only ever observed this one.
Regular readers of this blog will know how much worry and emotion I have been putting into trying to save our Amphibians from the Heron and so will hopefully indulge me in some more celebration of this year’s successful Frog spawning season. The photo below is rather dark but all the white bits are the the brilliant white of the male Frogs’ throats as they await newly-arriving females. Given that the pond was entirely cleared of adult Frogs by the Heron this time last year, I am so happy to see how many of them there now are:
The Yellowhammers continue to visit the strip:
I was really pleased to see that one of the birds is ringed:
I presume that this is the bird that was ringed here last May and which has now returned to breed again:
I liked this photo also from the strip:
They look so much like a visiting group of bully boys. A Murder of Crows.
There is a large pile of hay that was cut from the meadows last autumn and is now slowly being bagged up and going off in fortnightly green waste collections through the winter. With all this wetness this year, it has sprouted large numbers of a cup fungus:
I have ploughed through the fungal identification books that we have but I’m afraid that still I am unable to tell you what species this is. There is an outcrop of another fungus in the tree copse but again I don’t know what this is. I’m hopeless with toadstools:
A Fox has been regularly going over this gate at night recently. What a lovely healthy tail:
A couple of weeks ago a few of our resident Foxes had picked up injuries. These Foxes are still around and so I hope and presume that their wounds are now recovering nicely:
I find it upsetting to have to look on helplessly in these circumstances.
Before I leave the meadows, there was this eggshell on the ground – somewhere around the place, a baby Pigeon has been born! Goodness.
Today, as I type, Storm Dennis is raging about our ears. I went to the wood a couple of days ago and found that it had got off lightly from the previous weekend’s storm, Ciara.
But given how strong those winds were at over 70mph and how many trees there are, we got off very lightly. But let’s see how we fair with Storm Dennis.
Three of the big raptor boxes are showing signs of occupation. This Tawny box now has sticks protruding:
The Kestrel box did have visible sticks a couple of weeks ago but these are not now to be seen. However the front board has many claw marks:
Another of the Tawny boxes also has visible sticks:
We are not sufficiently experienced in such matters to be able to tell from this what is in the boxes, but there certainly a lot of Grey Squirrels in the wood and I have my suspicions. In a few weeks we will check the boxes, but before then we will get a camera on a pole and try to see if we can observe what’s going on in there.
I like how this wood Badger goes over this trunk. It reminds me of old footage of tanks going across trenches in WWII.
Three Goldfinch in the wood, an unusual sight here:
But most of the wood photos continue to be dominated by our Pheasant population:
We are pleased to be providing sanctuary for these birds now that there is no longer a shoot here, but there certainly are a lot of them around.
So, there we are for today. I hope all the birds out there have found a sheltered little nook to safely see out the storm. However, I do know that those hairless little Badger cubs will be warm and cosy underground snuggled up with their mother and that’s a lovely thought.