Saturday, 20 November 2010

Badger Days

The author on The Swale NNR with Midge (courtesy of P. Sosbe)

I stirred from having "five minutes" in the conservatory yesterday afternoon and was amazed to see a Grey Wagtail walking round the edge of my garden pond. I doubt that more than a handful of Grey Wagtails are seen on Sheppey each year and so it was a real coupe to get one in the garden.
At this time of the year any sensible person of a certain age who is able too, will have "five minutes" in the afternoon. A similar thing was recorded in the Wind in the Willows when the Badger went "missing" in his study while being visited by the other animals one winter's day, as follows.....
"The explanation of course, was thoroughly understood by every one present. The fact is, as already set forth, when you live a life of intense activity for six months in the year, and of comparative or actual somnolence for the other six, during the latter period you cannot be continually pleading sleepiness when there are people about or things to be done. The excuse gets monotonous. The animals well knew the Badger having eaten a hearty breakfast, had retired to his study and settled himself in an arm chair with his legs up on another and a red cotton handkerchief over his face, and was being "busy" in the usual way at this time of the year" - how delightfully sensible!

We have had a couple of beautiful days this week, with one being recorded in my last blog and yesterday saw some exceptional warmth in the sun for a couple of hours in the morning. With all my normal winter gear on ended up having to carry my coat over my shoulders and was still hot with a roll neck and lined trousers on, but it was enjoyable non the less. For the second day this week I put the big pump on and coaxed a bit more water in to the scrape in The Flood. I say coaxed because the water comes from the surrounding ditches which remain very low, but at this time of the year having a large, flooded scrape tends to be of better use for attracting the birds than full ditches and its had not to believe that the ditches won't soon be re-filled, won't they?

This afternoon we have our monthly Harrier roost count to carry out across Harty by the usual team. We had to postpone it last Sunday due to the heavy rain and so no "five minutes" today, by 3.30 I shall be positioned in the Tower Hide in the damp and chill looking for Harriers as the dusk falls. Hopefully I won't have the disturbing factor of nearby duck shooting.


  1. Sounds good getting to that 'certain age' Derek :-)

  2. Badger was definitely 'delightfully sensible' Derek :)

    Well done on the Grey Wagtail! The only wagtail I have ever had in my garden is a Pied but only ever when there is snow on the ground and the Blackbirds bully it mercilessly, mind you it always outwits them by skipping out of the way every time they take a run at it.

    By the way, there is nothing wrong with a little healthy nostalgia. I think any vaguely intelligent person must look back with longing to a gentler, more innocent time :)

  3. Thanks Jan,

    I guess we're on the same wavelength with the nostagia.