Christmas Morning

There is a light rain falling, a drizzle really. The grass is soft, springy, saturated with the last week’s rainfall and I leave a line of muddy prints, as I sqwelch my way towards the spot where I set up the camera trap last night.

A buzzard, calling loudly, drifts across the leaden, grey, grizzled sky, circles a few times. A cursory scrutiny of the scene below and she decides that neither Lilly the Collie nor I are suitable canidates for breakfast and so she floats off to try her luck in the woods across the river Barle.

I set the camera up last night, attached to what appears to be a television aerial post. (Planning restrictions in the Exmoor National Park restrict the siting of these modern visual abominations.) I choose the spot, adjacent to a hedge because there was evidence of a badger using it as a transit route to and from a probable sett in the little copse above the house. The ground was scuffed up badger style, and the rocks and stones had the tell tale scratch marks. The paw print with the long front claws was a bit of a give away as well.

I was not expecting much from the experiment. After all the house was only 20 metres away, and there had been comings and goings during the early part of the evening. But one never knows. I retrieved the camera, and as the rain began to fall heavily, we retreated back to the house. A hasty examination confirmed my thoughts. Nothing had triggered the camera during the night. Not even a lowly mouse. No matter. There are other likely spots, to be tried again tonight.

I am writing this on the kitchen table of Sweet Oaks lodge, in deepest darkest Somerset. It is Christmas morning, the house is just beginning to stir. Time to put the laptop away, and enjoy the last few minutes of peace before the chaos, shattered dreams and expectations of another family Christmas.

Enjoy your day. Wishing badgers and foxes everywhere a safe, comfortable, and warm few days.

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