Nature Club: From badgers to blackberries, readers report on their recent wildlife highlights
Friday 05 November 2010
A family of badgers – two adults and three young – visit my garden. I've taken pictures, but they are so shy they disappear at the slightest sound. The female is the one with the mottled nose. When badgers fight, they often grab their opponent's nose and bite. The pinkish colouring is scar tissue from battles.
I've never seen all five together. If I put food in a tray they fight over it, so I spread it around so they all get some. The adult takes the lion's share in the tray, and the cubs forage in the gravel. I've seen two of the cubs push each other quite violently.
Lorraine Barker, Yeovil
I have been walking through the Beech Woods around High Wycombe. The blackberries are still about but are getting mushy and overripe. Butterflies and dragonflies are gorging on them. The leaves are beginning to turn and are waiting for the first frost to complete the transformation.
Nicholl Williams, Upper Thames Valley
This year, I took an interest in dragonflies. I bought a book and some binoculars. Armed with these and my compact camera, I explored dragonfly sites. Near a pond in a wood near Leatherhead last Sunday, I was amazed to see common darters flying in late October, though it was a warm day. In fact, there were four of them. And the females appeared to be laying eggs. One landed on my head. I'll keep that memory with me until I can see dragonflies again next May.
David Hasell, Thames Ditton
Between our porch and a bush, a spider has spun her web. From June to October, I saw her grow as she sucked dry one small fly after another, until she was the size of a fingernail, with elegant legs striped like a zebra.
Recently, she had a visitor, nervous but voluntary – a male. He was one-tenth her size. For 15 minutes, he beat a rhythm on her web with his front legs, well out of her way. When she bunched up her legs to allow safe access to her underside, he inched towards her. He was nervous, retreating many times, and often falling off the web.
Eventually, he was within touching distance: but she remained with legs bunched up and he made six returns (and three falls). Half an hour passed before he left. He had succeeded in the delicate feat of passing on his genetic code without passing on his calories.
John Kirkman, Sheffield
To take part in The Independent's Nature Club, email your wildlife observations to firstname.lastname@example.org; the best entries will be published each month
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