October 1st - Talking of hedgerows, there’s a feature of them - and similar thickets - that not many notice. This hole is a sign of regular use as a thoroughfare, yet it’s too small for anything human or most things canine. It’s a fox path.
Foxes have a territory which they walk most nights - it encompasses their food sources, possible mates, sources of territorial conflict and so on. They are surprisingly regular in the routes they walk, and paths through undergrowth and scrub are well worn and used. Like desire paths created by humans, they often join two places by the shortest means, but also provide a quick route of escape, or shelter for hunting forays. Fox paths appear to be passed down from parent to cub, so that many are decades - if not centuries - old. As they’re established, other animals use them, like badgers.
This one leads off the canal towpath at Clayhanger above the Big House, down an almost vertical bank for 20 feet or so, and to into their garden. It’s been here for 20 years, to my knowledge.
Wonder if Reynard will be on the beat tonight?
November 18th - My second attempt to find badgers. On Cannock Chase, In the dark, I found them. They were wonderful, but the light was too bad to take pictures. I won’t say where they were for obvious reasons, and I watched them way too long. I was left to rush home, back through the forest in darkness. It was brilliant, but very cold. All I could hear was owls, the flow of water, and small animals scuttling through the undergrowth. The Chase at night is a wonderful, full-on sensory experience.
November 11th - An afternoon on Cannock Chase, with mixed results. It was chilly, but clear, and I was looking for badgers. I found the sett I was after, but approached with the wind the wrong side of me and they stayed resolutely hidden. No such shyness, however, from the Penkridge Bank fallow deer who were loafing in their usual spot. The handsome young stag - too young for the recent rutting, I suspect - was drawn by my offerings of carrot and flapjack. These animals are usually here, but usually very skittish. I think the recent chillier weather has drawn them a shade closer to humans. beautiful creatures. Shame the light was so bad.