Sunshine, winter otters and nosey badgers

What a brilliant Sunday. It started cold but sunny, so I made my mind up to go in search of otters on our local river. I’d forgotten that the river would be so swollen (after a whole day of rain yesterday), but luckily I had my welllies and managed to slosh my way through the floods, admiring the redwings that were sunbathing at the tops of the trees.

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It wasn’t long before I bumped into my friend Stuart (doing a bit of otter watching too) so we went off in search together along the river bank. We soon heard the tell-tale high pitched, repeated squeak of an otter cub, and sure enough, on the opposite bank there they were – Mum and youngster.

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It’s always a treat to see them out of the water, and I even managed a tiny bit of video footage in the water, as the cub tried to keep up with Mum, squeaking all the way, then met up and dived together. Sorry… I couldn’t help saying “lovely” at the end :-)

It was also a bumper day (or night) for badgers. Although badgers don’t hibernate, they do sometimes have nights in the winter when they don’t visit the garden. However, last night wasn’t one of them – far from it! Between 1pm to 5pm they must have been having a blimin party out there as I videoed them on the trail camera no less than twenty-two times. It seems like the youngsters were out in force (maybe sent out by Mum to fill their bellies before the frosts arrived) as these particular badgers were very cheeky and inquisitive – as this footage shows. I’ve never looked up a badgers nostrils before!

They are also incredibly determined and strong. I only ever put a handful of sunflower hearts under some bricks (to encourage them to work a bit for their tiny treat, and to stop the foxes from eating it), but when this badger arrived at 2.42am most of the seeds had already been eaten by his relatives. That didn’t stop him, oh no, not a single stone was left unturned, or unpushed!

Meet the wild neighbours…

They aren’t rare or unusual but sometimes your “neighbours” are the backbone of your wildlife garden.

I might despair at the squirrels for stealing all the bird seed from the feeders and trying to steal eggs from nests, but in the depths of winter five minutes watching one methodically searching for buried nuts in the lawn helps to lift a grey day.

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That goes for Robbie as well who visits our windowsill about four times a day, no… not the Take That heartthrob with the tattoos (I think he’d find it hard to balance on our windowsill), this one has very skinny legs, black eyes and a red breast. The only thing they do have in common is a very cheeky personality!

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Two more for my #WGW365 Challenge list!

A one-eyed monster? #WGW365

No not really, it’s just a fox. I first noticed only one of its eyes was lighting up in the infra-red light of my trail camera about a month ago. I hadn’t noticed it before, and will need to look at video from last summer to see if it was happening then. It could have been blind in this eye since birth (it was one of two cubs from last year), or could have a disease or suffered some kind of trauma. Whatever happened it luckily looks healthy, strong and is obviously finding plenty to eat (including the left overs under the birdfeeder!). I’ll keep a close eye on him and he’s going on my Wild Garden Wildlife 365 Challenge list!

Bee you old or bee you new – I bee happy!

Today has been the warmest day of the year so far with temps touching 17 degrees (well, that’s what it said in my car!). I decided to look a little further afield than my garden (that has very few flowering plants at the moment – something that needs rectifying) and visited the old churchyard in the village looking for bees.

Andrena flavipes or Yellow legged mining bee (female)

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