It was darker than I thought. And windy with it. I crashed through the undergrowth, and briefly stopped to see which way the wind was blowing. I heard the cubs first, chittering with excitement, I guess at being outside. Then an adult barked a short sharp warning. Silence.
Dare I set the camera up and scatter the peanuts? Or was it too late? I crept quietly now along the path and stopped a couple of yards from the sett entrance. I stayed very still.
Through the gloom I could just make out the familiar stripy black and white face. No matter how many times I see them on the video that I take, nothing beats seeing them in the flesh.
It knew that something wasn’t right. I shifted my weight and in a flash it was gone, back into the undergrowth.
I stepped forward a few paces and fixed the camera to the tree. Hastily I threw a few peanuts onto the ground and crouched down.
A minute passed. Then a face appeared, slowly emerging from the bush and after a cursory sniff, the cub settled down to follow a trail of peanuts.
Tonight of course was the night that I had forgotten my night vision camera. I carefully lifted my iPhone out. Not enough light. The cub stopped eating and looked in my direction. Then it carried on. They are fascinating, and intriguing animals in so many ways, but they have terrible table manners. Even though it was only a cub, I could hear the champing and munching as the cub devoured the peanuts.
Time to move off.
I retreated back to the main path, and waited a few minutes. The wind played with the snowberry bushes and creaked the branches of the trees. Every scuttle, every slightly out-of-place shape took on badger possibilities.
Time to go home.
Time to let them feed, forage and frolic in peace.
What a wonderful surprise, totally unexpected. All the cares from the day fell away. I smiled to myself. And of course there was the possibility of video and photos from the camera to look forward to.
If I had switched it on!
Should I go back? I reached the car and shrugged to myself. No matter, no video could replace tonight anyway.