Or perhaps, t'is the THREE HOURS I spent sitting on a tree in a copse as it got dark that worked as some kind of offering.
Either way, Badger Watch last night was more successful than any of us dreamed.
If you read books on the subject, or take advice from those in the know, they all say:
1. Don't wash before you go out (the smell, see? Badgers having delicate olfactory systems).
2. Don't eat spicy food (ditto the olfactors).
3. Remain down wind of the sett at all time (ditto again).
4. Get there in plenty of time because otherwise the disturbance you cause will stop said badgery folk from ambling about outdoors as darkness falls.
5. Rub soil and leaves over your skin so you smell of the land.
6. Wear something over your face to break up the otherwise obvious human face appearance.
7. Don't wear perfume, or deodorant.
8. Be very patient- don't expect to see them first time, or second, or third etc etc.
In reality, we walked up the hill at 7.50pm last night chatting away and, as we approached the sett, very nearly tripped over a Cub who was nosing about in the undergrowth near the entrance to his home.
The three of us (intrepid Badger Watchers) froze where we stood, stopped breathing and remained like that for the best part of an hour, not remotely hidden by trees or indeed unobvious as humans AT ALL, while four other badgers popped up out of the earth and one by one joined the baby who was eating peanuts right in front of Cat's trail cam, so she'll have some stunners of shots of them I'm certain.
Forgive the quality of the photographs, which were taken on my mobile as the light faded, but they do at least show you something of the magic of what we witnessed.
I have Fallen In Love with the baby (no pic of him/ her I'm afraid- the Splendid Chap or Chapess in the pics was, we think, a sibling from a previous litter, or perhaps an Aunt or Uncle, judging from the close relationship the little one had with him). The Baby was not remotely bothered by our presence, unlike Mum who was nervy and kept disappearing whenever she thought she sensed trouble.
After an hour, the group went back towards the holes, so we took a chance and moved position, sitting down in front of where they'd been nosing out the peanuts Cat had put down earlier in the day. We didn't expect to see any more, but we'd barely sat down when three badgers came trundling down the hill and started snuffling the ground looking for food and squabbling with one another. They remained no more than 2-3 metres away from our feet.
It was MAGICAL.
I shall be returning...
Hope you are all well,