Country Diary – Extra

A view to a … poo?

badger pooSo what’s all this business about business?

If you’re wondering what a badger latrine looks like, here’s the one Derek mentioned in his latest Guardian Country Diary (24 Sept). You might call it a communal dump.

There was similar pit a little further along the field, where the animals had evidently been feeding on the spent wheat left after the crop was harvested, a day or two before. So, healthy badgers tucking into their fruit and fibre.

It’s very hard to get good views of many of our wild mammals, including badgers, so we usually have to make do with the various kinds of evidence they leave behind to find out what’s been going on in the countryside at night.

untitled-7The other two pictures capture some more signs left behind by badgers. The first is a classic badger token – the hairs caught in a barbed wire fence (they’re a bit frosty in this pic). You can see the regular path taken by the badger on the ground below. When the animal goes under the fence, its hair snags on the spike, again and again and again.

goblin print
The second shot was taken in winter snow and bears all the hallmarks of a badger footprint. Those five long claws are unquestionably badger – but in our imaginations, the prints were made by a goblin.


fly agaric portraitWe’re no experts when it comes to fungi. There are some toadstools that are unmistakeable, such as the red and white fly agaric pictured here (there ought to be a fairy sitting on top).

The fungus featured in the Diary is trickier. It’s probably a pleated inkcap, a toadstool that fruits for only a day before it shrivels away. But there are two other possible species  – you can tell them apart by their spores, apparently. Never mind, just enjoy them for what they are, even without the certainty of a name.  For small, dull-grey toadstools they really were rather beautiful.





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