In addition to our scheduled outing this week, we booked two evenings with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust to go Badger Watching at a secret location on the outskirts of Ipswich, and both groups were very lucky in that they both saw badgers!
The first group of 8 went on Monday 16th May, and this is what they wrote:
As predicted we arrived at the car park about 6.45pm , collected the key and a bowl of peanuts and walked to the hide arriving there about 7pm. Steve threw peanuts (to which badgers are apparently rather partial) down the bank in front of the hide window and we all took our places. There were several information sheets to read around the inside of the hide which was at the top of a bank overlooking some very large holes and a stream, with lots of leafy trees and roots.
Three great tits, a few rats and almost an hour later the first badger appeared up the bank in front of us. She, and I am sure it was a she, was quickly followed by three very cute youngsters and we all sat in an enthralled silence for the best part of half an hour while they rooted around for the strewn peanuts. Just before we thought we might leave, the boar put in a brief appearance but unfortunately he didn’t stay long.
I am sure we all left feeling very privileged.
The second group went on Wednesday 18th May, here is their report:
We took our places just after 7.00 p.m., having scattered the peanuts around the front of the hide at the top of the bank. Just after 7.20 the first badger appeared. Not a cub, but we thought a juvenile as he or she was not very large. He spent about 25 minutes seeking out and devouring more than half of all our peanuts – to our dismay! But we needn’t have worried! Soon after he had shuffled off, a larger badger arrived. He appeared to have a plaited string collar around his neck, perhaps for identification? He had a kinked tailed so he was easy to distinguish from the other badgers, and he was larger so we presumed he was a male. He managed to find a few peanuts overlooked by the first badger, and then another badger joined him in the search. They completely ignored one another and eventually shuffled off one by one along their track and into the undergrowth. After a few more minutes a fourth badger arrived, who also seemed to have a collar round his neck, and had slightly different markings (pale patches) on his shoulders. He (or she) stayed quite a while hoovering up the final peanuts and generally sniffing around the area before leaving. We stayed for another half an hour but apart from a rat and great tits no sign of any more creatures, so we decided to leave – still in daylight – at 9.40 p.m., feeling, like the others, very privileged.