One of the new events for this year was the Badger workshop looking at everything from badger habitat and field signs to mitigation and persecution. On Saturday 4th August, 18 bright eyed CAN members joined Wirral & Cheshire Badger Group representatives Brian Rhodes & Jane Cullen to find out more and hear about their badger experiences over the last 30 years of the groups existence.
Members as usual came up with a raft of intelligent questions for Brian, Jane & CAN council member Helen Lacy, and the afternoon flew by as the group dissected pictures of badgers, setts and of course badger poo! The not so nice subject of badger persecution was discussed and the importance, as always, of recording. The tricky issue of sett closures & mitigation was demonstrated with some interesting case studies and examples of what not to do. Hopefully members went away armed with the knowledge of what field signs to look for and what issues there are surrounding badgers today but more importantly a greater understanding and respect for this stunning mammal.
As part of this session members were driven off (and returned in one piece!) to a woodland sett a few miles away whereby evening badger watches took place. These watches were spread over the weekend and each watch was different to the last. The woodland is in a lovely quiet spot and our members had it all to themselves which was a real treat. Whilst waiting patiently for the badgers, woodmice were seen scampering about and the bats were feeding so close you could feel them turn in front of your nose. One night the wood was full of noise with tawny owls calling and screeching all night long and fox cubs were heard playing too. A badger started to venture out of its sett only to be startled by the blood curdling scream of a vixen & dart back into its sett- damn! At least a badger was seen though! On the last night it was ‘Badgers in the mist’, the day had seen a tremendous thunderstorm over the region but by the evening conditions were vastly improved and looking good for the watch. As the eagle eyed CAN members ventured into the wood and sat down a mist slowly rolled in and enveloped the whole wood- even the previously noisy tawny owls had nothing to say and the wood fell quiet apart from the sounds of water dripping from the trees. By the time the wood was completely dark a snout appeared from out of the sett and minutes later the watchers were treated to a great view of a badger as it came fully out to munch on a few of the scattered peanuts. It didn’t stay out long but none the less it was great to see and a surprise addition to the evening was the lovely display made by the woods Glow worms. All in all a great weekend, thanks to those who took part and of course to Wirral & Cheshire Badger Group.
To visit our friends in the Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group please click on the link below…