Monday, 10 February 2014

  On a moonlit night, an owl can spot a mouse moving more 150 feet away!

      I don't leave work until six tonight and I get down to the hide at about 6.30. I'm still feeding peanuts and Fruit and Fibre, but I've now run out of the fox/badger food. The food I put out every night is being eaten by something and I'm guessing the badgers are still visiting, just not when I'm about! The wind is really gusting again tonight, but at least it's dry. Due to the recent inactivity, I've dropped the net down tonight to hopefully give some confidence to any badgers that do turn up. The mouse is out and about soon after I arrive and is getting bolder than ever. He doesn't bother about me too much now, unless I make a loud noise or movement.

      I sit there in the dark waiting and listening, but the wind masks a lot of the noises I can normally hear. I don't mind the traffic noise being muffled somewhat, but I haven't been hearing any wild owls lately. Ironically I can hear a Little Owl calling in the night somewhere, but I'm not even sure which direction it's in. I glance at the time and half an hour has gone by already and no badgers still. I spend another half an hour waiting, but nothing appears outside the hide. This is the longest spell I've had without seeing a badger at the hide and I guess I was sort of expecting it at some point.

      I just didn't expect it whilst the temperature was still quite mild. As I clear the peanuts from the doorstep, the mouse is out and only about eighteen inches away. I move my hand close to the little guy and he doesn't seem worried at all. I get my hand within about four inches of the little animal before he drops behind the mesh on the front of the hide. He doesn't run even then, just waits there. That is the highlight of the evening and I make my way back to the farm. On the way back up I pick up some eyeshine in the torch beam. It's on teh main path and coming towards me and it's a badger. I stand still and wait as he approaches me, but about fifteen yards away he suddenly turns off the path and goes to the hedge. I can hear him moving throught the hedge and quietly follow him up towards the farm. When he gets to the gateway between the top and bottom field, he appears out of the hedge and trots across the path in front of me. So, they are still about, but not where I would like to see them; outside the hide! Vince is busy when I get back to the farm as they have a group of Girl Guides in the indoor flying area watching some owls being flown. I leave them to it and make my way home hoping for better luck over the weekend. I can't watch tomorrow, so Saturday is my next opportunity. Fingers crossed!

     


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