Yet another warm, dry night -- surely this mild autumn can't last much longer. The badgers were out at 19:03 and had a busy night until 4:20 or so. This was apparent first thing this morning when a new series of holes appeared in the woodland path nearest the house, one of which looked more like a rabbit burrow than a snuffle hole.
But that wasn't all. I had left a bundle of dry bracken a few metres from the sett. That did very nicely, and so did a dozen more, gathered by one of the badgers. Thirteen lots of bedding were taken in in an hour and a half! Did I stimulate this or would they have done it anyway? -- I'd have thought they had enough by now, but apparently not.
All the coming and going from the sett provided some opportunity for a new game. One badger, Benji attempting to be dominant perhaps, sat outside the sett and tried to swat the other on the head with a paw, a bit like a cat. I once saw a badger cub getting a clatter from his mother, exactly like a box in the ear, but hadn't seen this game before. The payback was familiar however: Benji had his tail nipped later. They groomed each other again for a while before going underground, so there were no hard feelings; it was all just play, of course.
They found and ate their food as usual. I've decided on a slightly different route to the field, on a path along the edge of wood. They may choose to go via the nearest exit from the wood in the corner of the field but it's become a bit overgrown with brambles, so I thought I'd point them to an alternative. They found it, found and ate their food and then did a little exploring. This was rewarded with their finding a 2nd dish I'd put out as a "sentinel" (for want of another camera) to test how far they went. The top was knocked off and the few peanuts in it disappeared. Now they just need to follow a dog leg around a large clump of brambles and they'll have a long straight path along the edge of the wood from which they can set explore the countryside.Some play at the rear entrance to the sett.