Friday, June 08, 2007

Late nights, early morning

It's been a busy week.

On Tuesday night, I went badger-watching with my workmates at a top-secret location in Hertfordshire. We kicked off the evening by going out for pizza and then headed towards Badger HQ. We got into the hide at about 8.45pm and it wasn't long before the first mammals made their appearance...


Once those crazy lagomorphs had polished off most of the food put out for the badgers - dog biscuits, peanuts and peanut butter - it was the turn of three Muntjac deer (two females and a male, which arrived and departed separately).

Next, we watched as three Red Fox cubs arrived. The peanut butter, which had been smeared on a log, was clearly their favoured food and they took turns to wolf it down.

Finally, the star of the show, a large Badger, turned up, putting everything else in its place. Peanut butter was all it was interested in, too, and the foxes could only look on as it devoured the lot, apparently.

Of course, it did the right thing and fell off the log once, as they always seem to do on the telly.

Three turbo-charged Wood Mice completed the cast, with another three Badgers also coming late on, though they were far more skittish and wouldn't come out in front of the hide. It was a good night; went to bed at 1am.

Tuesday morning, I got up at 5.30am to do a breeding bird survey at The Lodge. The weather was overcast and breezy with cloud low enough to hide the top bit of Sandy transmitter. We didn't see much, with the exception of swarms of juvenile Blue Tits flying in all directions, and heard a Spotted Flycatcher calling.

Wednesday night saw me standing in a middle of a drizzly field near Peterborough, listening for nocturnal birds and wondering whether, if I shut my eyes and stood up straight, I'd be able to fall asleep while standing upright, like a horse.

Haven't a clue what we'll be doing this weekend, but I think I'm due some photos.

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