22 January 2021
Was it? Could it have been? Yes it was!
We had collected the memory cards from the trail cameras and were looking at the first card and there, at the very end of the video, was a grey and apparently rounded back end of something that was not a cat or a fox. Just could it be a badger? We had not seen a badger in the garden for some months and so this was quite exciting. Full of anticipation, we changed cards for a different view, and there it was, and it was definitely a badger and it reappeared last night (images 1 and 2). This badger is quite thick-set with a broad head and likely to be a boar wandering in search of a sow.
Following that first appearance we sprinkled some peanuts on the ground but that night it rained and the peanuts were left to be collected by four squabbling crows, a magpie and three quarrelsome squirrels. It was interesting to see how the corvids would carefully collect peanuts one at a time holding up to six or so in their bills before quickly raising their heads and swallowing the lot all in one go (images 3 and 4). A couple of years ago we watched a jay loosening peanuts from a bird feeder allowing them to fall to ground and then fly down to pick them up in the same way. Corvids (like many other birds), have two stomachs, one for digestion and the other (the gizzard) used for grinding down seeds (and peanuts).
An evening wander along North Stroud Lane produced two roe deer at first partly obscured by a hedge but then they moved into full view and, as I waited and watched leaning against an oak tree, eight more gradually appeared out of Stroudbridge Copse to graze in a loose group down in the valley (image 5). Nine does and a single buck, ten roe deer at the same time, quite a sight. And then, with a flash of white, a barn owl appeared and flew off above the roe, across the field and towards the distant hills (image 6).
Oh, and finally, this afternoon saw a magnificent double rainbow arching over the Winchester Road. The afternoon had been sunny but as the sun came down there was a sudden shower, perfect conditions for a rainbow. I grabbed the mobile phone and dashed out of the front door and there it was in all its brilliant glory arching over the Winchester Road and the village green (image 7).