Growing badger cubs

It’s been a couple of weeks since the badger cubs have emerged from the safety of the underground chambers and there have been some up’s and down’s.

I discovered a dead badger cub not far from the sett. A tiny little thing that probably died of natural causes. In a large litter it is unusual for the smaller cub to survive.

So far the weather has been kind to the cubs, it rained a lot in April allowing mum to feed well and have a good supply of milk. Now the weather has turned sunny and stream close to the sett has dried up, it means the cubs, who are becoming more adventurous and relying less on their mother’s milk, will have to travel further to the bigger brook to drink.

At the moment they are not leaving their mum’s or their babysitters side for a minute. A couple of nights ago we saw the mum trot passed through the undergrowth with one cub desperately running to keep up.

 

2018 badger cubsBadger cubs x 2

 

 

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Blogging, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Owls

Around my local patch I get 4 different types of owls. Barn owl, Tawny owl, Little owl and Short- eared owl.

Over the past couple of weeks both a Barn owl and two Little owls have been very visible.

Five facts about Barn owls

  • Adult Barn owls mate for life
  • Barn owls eat an average of 4 small mammals per night
  • Female Barn owls weigh around 360g, while males weigh around 330g
  • While flying it is difficult to tell male from female. Close up females have spots on their chest while males are generally all white. Females have darker brown feathers around the rim of the facial disc
  • Fastest recorded speed of a Barn owl was 55mph

Barn owl on post

 

Five facts about Little owls

  • Little owls also mate for life, they remain in their territory throughout the year
  • Main prey for Little owls is invertebrates, especially moths and beetles. they will also eat small rodents and even roosting small birds.
  • Little owls have an undulating flight, similar to a green woodpecker
  • They are around 22 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 56 centimetres for both male and female. They weigh about 180 grams
  • Little owls hunt from fence posts or run along the ground after beetles.

Little owl on barn

Little owls

 

 

Posted in Barn owl, birds, Blogging, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

If you go down to the woods today – May 2018

If you go down to the woods today, just one word describes it – Bluebells

The woodland floor is a carpet of blue and after the recent warm weather the air is full  with the heavy scent of Bluebells.

 

The native Bluebells you find in the woods are different from the Spanish Bluebells that you often find in gardens.

Here’s how you can tell the difference

English bluebells have a scent, Spanish don’t
English Bluebells have a drooping stem, Spanish ones have a straight stem
English Bluebells have narrow leaves (under 1.5cm wide), Spanish ones have wider leaves.
English Bluebells have deep blue, violet flowers which curl back at the ends, Spanish ones are paler and straighter
English Bluebells have cream coloured anthers, Spanish ones mainly have blue anthers.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Woodland | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

First glimpse of 2018 badger cubs

I’m really please to discover, after waiting patiently, that this years badger cubs are finally being brave enough to venture above ground.

 

It’s been really interesting watch through all of the trail camera footage, of which the above film is only a very small selection.

There seems to be two adults looking after the cubs. Mum (Arrow) and another female.

You can see the other female grooming a cub in the clip, then Arrow turns up and the first female very slightly dips her head down.

The other badgers seem to be comfortable with the cubs around and towards the end of the clip you can see an adult walk over as a cub climbs underneath it.

DivXSnap-2018-05-04-14-53-36-785

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Blogging, Bushnell, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Snares and badgers

Boris is a year old badger that just over a week ago got himself in a bit of a predicament.

A very thoughtful member of the public contacted Oxon Badger Group about a badger that had been caught in some wire.

It turned out that the badger was actually caught in a snare.

badger in snare

Photo credit – Oxon Badger Group

Unfortunately snares are not illegal, and are used to catch mainly foxes and rabbits. Snares are designed to capture the animal alive for the owner of the snare to return and kill it. Many animals suffer badly in snares in their panic to escape.

Also many ‘non target’ animals get caught in snares including badgers, cats and dogs.

The League against Cruel Sports has a campaign against snares which you can read here.  https://www.league.org.uk/snares

The Wildlife Crime Unit are dealing with this.

Luckily for Boris, he was rescued by members of the Oxon Badger Group and another kind individual, and rushed to Tiggywinkles Animal Hospital.

badger ready to go to Tiggywinkles

Photo credit – Oxon Badger Group

Tiggywinkles did a fantastic job of looking after Boris, who had injuries around his chest from the snare.

After a week of antibiotics and painkillers Boris was free to be released. I was very lucky to be there when he went. It all happened so quickly. As soon as the lock was lifted, he pushed open the door  himself and ran off in to the undergrowth.

ready for release

Good luck Boris and stay safe

Posted in Animals, Badgers, mammals, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife photography, Wildlife Rescue | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Billy badger cub

I’m posting two blogs today about badgers.

One had a happy ending, this one didn’t.

A member of the public rang Oxon Badger Group explaining that they had found a female badger that had been killed on the road.

RTA badger

This amazing person was thoughtful enough to check on the badger.

Many badgers at this time of year could be suckling cubs and it would be devastating for that family if the mother doesn’t return home. Also some badgers may not actually be dead.

It is essential that if you find an injured badger or any other animal, a qualified person is called, as injured animals can be very aggressive.

Unfortunately this badger was dead, but the rescuer (Alan) saw that there was a cub nearby and it was desperately trying to ‘wake’ its dead mum.

Still from footage by Alan

Still from footage by Alan

After a call to Oxon Badger Group, it was decided that the quickest course of action was for Alan to take the cub straight to Tiggywinkles. Which he was very kind enough to do so.

Members of Oxon Badger Group went out to the area to search for the sett and to see if there were any more cubs. Alan, who found her also checked daily. No other cubs were found.

Although, unfortunately the rescued badger cub died a few days later, at least it was in the best possible hands, with the best possible treatment and care, thanks to the vigilant member of the public.

It helps Oxon Badger Group to know where setts are around the county, so these setts can be monitored and found in cases like these. If you know of a local sett around Oxfordshire, please don’t publicly post its whereabouts but email in confidence to

Be a Badger Angel

Please slow down for badgers – Give Badgers a brake

Next blog has a happier ending.

 

Posted in Animals, Badgers, mammals, nature, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife Rescue | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

First Cuckoo

‘Cuck-oo – cuck-oo’.

From up in the trees above the badger sett I could hear the first cuckoo of the year calling.

It was difficult to work out whereabouts and in which tree this male cuckoo (only the male makes the ‘cuckoo’)  was calling from.

I circled the wood, taking photos of the wildlife flowers along the banks of the stream, that have suddenly appeared in the last couple of days sunshine, while picking up plastic rubbish.

18th April was  

Lilly is a 10 year from Holland who asked people from around the world to pick up plastic rubbish for her 10th birthday. You can follow her on Twitter, and see the difference she is making. @lillyspickup

In the background the cuckoo was still calling. I headed over towards where I could hear it, when I saw a movement in a tree ahead. There, near the top of the tree was the cuckoo.

Thank you to Noah @NoahWal01 and Simon, @SimonBradfield who told me that around Oxfordshire the Cuckoos most favoured nest to lay their eggs in belongs to the Dunnock and Reed bunting.

Each season a female cuckoo will lay between 12 and 22 eggs, all in different nests.

As Cuckoos are brood parasites, and the young have no contact with their true parents, it means that their behaviour must be innate. They have an inborn ability to know where to migrate to when the summer is over and where to come back to in the Spring.

I read the fascinating fact that a female cuckoo will generally lay her eggs in a nest belonging to the same species of bird that reared her.

Cuckoo

banks of the streamFirst flowering BluebellsPrimroses on bank of stream

celandineComma butterflyThree-cornered garlic

Plastic rubbish

Posted in birds, Blogging, Butterfly, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, plastic waste, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment