. . .Walking towards the beach, I came across the badger prints again. I could see where they had been foraging. This time I followed them along the beach. They have done a fair bit of digging in the sand. Tufts of fur scattered around suggested mating. I followed their paw prints to the Wilden Lane gate, crossed the road and entered the field opposite. It took a while, but I eventually tracked them to a sett on the side of Wilden Top Hill. Obviously, the Wilden Top badgers were returning from seeing-in the New Year with the marsh badgers!
Satisfied that I had found out a little more about the private lives of the local badgers, I went back to the marsh. The Shetland calf was sleeping again. The little fellow seems to be spending a lot of time lying down on the job, chewing the cud.
I walked, skidded and squelched down the short muddy corridor to the orchid field, a tricky business. I had to hold onto the fence to avoid being sucked, perhaps irretrievably, into the mire – it’s a short cut to the south marsh. Getting through the orchid field is not an easy business either, it’s one of the boggiest fields on the marsh.
Conditions have improved significantly on the south marsh since I was last there on 30th December. The river level has dropped by two and a half feet. The south pool is empty and new grass is sprouting from its once bare soil. Even the ground trawled up by machinery has bright new grass growing on it. There are a few 25 litre oil drums left high and dry in tree branches. . . .