13 December 2013

A dry night again. However, very little badger activity was recorded on camera overnight, just a badger bringing in bedding at 5AM. A pulsating grey orb loomed out of the darkness and then, when it turned sideways it was revealed to be a badger with bedding under its chin. That revelation was hardly a surprise, but watching it without sound seemed... strange, if not wrong. I discovered that I had the sound on my computer turned down, not that the video was recorded on a camera without sound. Replaying it with the volume turned up was strangely satisfying -- relaxingly familiar.

Some people find the sounds of whales uplifting. To me they are more redolant of a planet in pain. A badger dragging bedding on the other hand, is nature going about its business in a more understandable way. We too have beds and like to be warm and comfortable when we sleep.

I have often (many years ago) sat up a tree and waited for a glimpse of a badger and then, long before I have seen it, have heard it coming, bringing bedding. Closer and closer, the cadence electrifying in the dark if you were trying to time a photograph, as I sometimes was, back in the days of kodachrome and one shilling flash bulbs. At one sett the badgers passed over the remains of a wall with a stone that made an audible clunk as it rocked when traversed, at which point I could begin counting one thousand, two thousand etc.. I never did get a really good photograph and I terrified some poor badgers.

Badgers too are creatures who find certain cadences reassuringly familiar. A sure way to get a nervous badger to relax, one who can't decide whether it's safe to venture out of the sett or not, is to scratch like a badger. The effect is often instant. The right kind of clothing is essential: corduroy trousers are good for this. If snapping twigs may signal danger, the sound of badgers dragging bedding is surely a woodland lullaby. Nevertheless, hearing it up a tree can make the hairs on one's neck stand up, like a sudden tug on a fishing line when one's attention had drifted downstream.

At long last the fox put in an appearance on camera. Perhaps two. Or perhaps two foxes appeared, once each? -- on the path along the edge of the wood.

One fox or two?