Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
A Very Blurry Badger
by admin - 20:57 on 18 May 2010
He was roughly two hundred yards away (I'm a poor judge), in fading light and moving much faster than I'd expected, but he was there – I've seen a live badger at last, and I have a very distant, blurry snap to prove it.
Led by John the Forestry Commission ranger, a group of four eager nature-lovers found itself loitering above a sett not far from Inverfarigaig, beyond which could be seen Loch Ness and the glow of the sun fallen behind the hills on the far shore. Very picturesque.
To get there we'd followed him up a hill. We paused along the way in zen-like stillness to listen for badger activity but heard nothing but birds and the occasional bark of a roe deer. The track we took was crossed by smaller ones, made by badgers, we were informed.
Above the sett (of which there are many in the vicinity) we settled to wait.
The first sighting, much obscured by trees, was of a badger digging busily outside his home about a hundred yards down the slope. Then he was gone. Twenty minutes later a second appeared from above and behind us and hurried down the hill, along a track we'd been shown earlier. Then he was gone.
After another fifteen or twenty minutes he (or one very like him) made the return journey. I'd imagined that badgers bumbled along but he, like the earlier one, moved at an impressive pace before disappearing into the trees.
We were out around two hours and saw badger action for less than two minutes, yet the effort had been worth it. I'd expected a hide and close-up views, so the distance was a little disappointing, but at least I knew we'd seen genuine wild animals, not ones used to human presence.
And I know where to find them again. Their hideaway isn't secret, as I'd imagined, because any self-respecting badger baiters don't need the Forestry Commission to tell them where to go, John told us.
I will have to return, for Matchgirl missed it all. She stayed home to nurse the cold that's stricken her for the past few days.
Very decently she's blamed the plague-ridden Vikings she moved among in Lerwick rather than me. Her proof is that my trivial indisposition lasted a fleeting moment; hers is much more debilitating and she's suffering much more than I did so it can't possibly be the same virus. She was so poorly yesterday that she had to eat a whole family pack of Kettle Chips to take away the pain. She's a brave soldier.
Pine Marten Update: The Nutella was cleared overnight, long after we'd retired to bed. I remain patient.
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