Enjoy a peaceful, relaxing, self-catering holiday in a secluded mobile home situated in the heart of the countryside with spectacular views across the Cotswolds and floodlit badger-watching facilities within 50 metres of the accommodation
During your stay, you will be able to have EXCLUSIVE use of three heated hides from which to observe badgers and other wildlife by floodlight after dusk at College Barn Farm, Sibford Gower, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX15 5RY
The conservation project at College Barn Farm commenced in 1987 when Richard and Sandra Butt bought the farm. It includes the planting of trees and shrubs as well as encouraging and, as far as possible, protecting and preserving the resident wildlife.
Their aim is to establish and sustain (CUT “a Eight-acre”) an eight-acre wildlife area containing as many different varieties of trees and wildlife as possible, with badger setts and four ponds included within this area.
The provision of mobile-home accommodation and badger-watching facilities for visitors not only helps to fund their conservation project, but also enables other wildlife enthusiasts to share their enjoyment of such. With the help of Badger-Watch visitors, they are able to protect the badgers by observing their setts daily and the badgers most evenings by floodlight from three heated hides .
During the day there are many other varieties of wildlife, from small birds to grass snakes to roe/fallow/muntjac deer (subject to the season) to be observed at College Barn Farm. One visitor spotted a total of 47 different kinds of birds during her stay, which included kingfishers, woodpeckers, sparrow-hawks, buzzards, kestrels and owls.
About twenty or so badgers, including cubs, currently live in the setts on the farm (including an artificial sett) and are regularly viewed – unrestricted by glass – at close range by visitors sitting quietly in the hides.
The ‘Top Badger Hide’, which is heated and can seat four persons, is on ground level at the entrance, but 10ft. above ground on the viewing side where the field below (containing the setts) slopes away.
Above this hide is a balcony which allows visitors an elevated, open-air view of the badger setts and the surrounding area, day and night, when the weather is fine. Watchers usually leave a trail of peanuts from the setts up to the hide and very soon after dark, the badgers come up for their supper. They can be clearly seen as there are two floodlights mounted above the hide. These don’t seem to bother the badgers in any way.
A second hide, ‘Running Water Hide’ which is sunk into the ground and seats three/four, is situated by the end of the largest pond. This location provides an unrestricted eye-level view of the badgers at close range from the front of the hide and a view along two ponds from the side window. Photography flaps are located to the front and side of the hide. This hide is also heated and has two reclining seats and two cushion seats.
A third hide, which also seats three/four people, is situated further down the badger-field near the lower badger sett, just outside the floodlit area.
I had a good sighting of a Barn Owl this morning, it was still out hunting at 7.30am
The badger emergence is around 6.30pm.
We still have apples lying under some of our apple trees which provides food for many birds including Field fares, Redwings, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Wood Peckers,Jay’s and many other varieties of birds some of which can be seen in the video below.
Also badgers deer and grey squirrels!!(deer shown in the video below)
5th February 2016
Two minutes from completing my morning dog walk I was treated to one of the most spectacular events that I have seen for some time, I just wish I had my video camera with me.
I had spotted a barn owl (who is currently resident in one of our barn owl boxes) out hunting around our hedges and our 7-8 acre wood half way through my dog walk, but as I neared my house 20 minutes later I could see the barn owl coming toward me down the other side of the hedge at about 4-5 feet in altitude with lots of swerves etc as they do! A Red Kite then dropped out of the sky toward the Barn Owl which I had noted was carrying a mouse or vole!! for the next 60 seconds or so I saw a flying display second to none, which included both raptors flying upside down at different times such was the determination of the Red Kite to steal the Barn Owls breakfast. Once the Barn Owl arrived at the trees around our farm building it was safe from the kite stealing its breakfast.
4th February 2016
The badger emergence is temporarily getting earlier but as the dusk gets later they will emerge around half an hour after last light.
I was pleased to see four badgers together outside the running water hide last evening even if they did argue somewhat.
I noted one night in January when no badgers emerged (24th Jan), for several evenings the badger emergence started to get later and later until the 24th January when no badger appeared on any of my cameras, the following night one appeared briefly for 15 minutes very late around 11pm, WHAT caused the interruption? while I cannot be certain one reason could be that some cubs have arrived?
The emergence is now back to around 6-7pm (see video below)
A fox also visited last night the photo however is not good enough to upload.
A hare stopped for long enough in front of a camera to be worth uploading, I am delighted to report that Hares are managing to gain in numbers around this area even though the attrition rate of their leverets is quite high.
I am hearing a Mistle thrush singing every morning while on my dog walk around 7.15am so Spring cannot be far away.
I see Buzzards and Red Kites flying around our farm an a daily basis (Buzzards appeared here around 10 years ago Red Kites 3 years ago)
How fast can a mouse run (check it out in the video below)
While on my afternoon dog walk on our land nearer Whichford I saw three hares, 17 fallow deer (including the albino) and four Roe deer
Since my last post on the 17th January the badger emergence (possibly due to the frosty weather) is now 10pm
The first snow of the winter fell here on the night 17th January.
The badgers are emerging between 6 and 7 pm.
Our ponds are all full with all the watercourses running like mountain rivers!
The Moorhens all seem fairly happy, particularly when I give them the occasional feed
Our jays are hungry and now visit the peanut feeder on a regular basis along with all of the “tit” families and various other smaller birds as does the green woodpecker and the greater spotted woodpecker. We have many varieties of birds feeding off the fallen apples as do the fallow deer and muntjac
The Jay does not normally stay in front of a camera for more than a few seconds so I was pleased to see this one for longer than is normal.
I was moving some items stored in our old barn when I noticed what I thought to be two mud balls on the wall (see photo below)
Much to my surprise on closer inspection I determined that two bats were roosting on the wall about 4 feet from the floor.
BAT NOS 1
BAT NOS 2
The new year has started well for the badgers here although very wet every other day.
The emergence is around 6 pm with the badgers looking fit and well and staying out of the setts until 5.49am
The too late badger:
The badger emergence is anywhere between 6pm and 10.45 pm and is not weather related as a badger emerged early last evening into a howling wet gale!!(see video below)
Do Badgers have ghosts? If not what have they cast around the trees?????
The badger emergence starts at 5.30 pm for the early badgers and up to 3.30 am for the later lonesome badgers.
(Triple click on the image below to full size it)
The two badgers in the background make off while the lonesome badger (this is the first recorded emergence in 2 nights) emerges and quickly makes off.
The “Lonesome” badger emerges 23seconds into the video.
A Jay visited our running water hide recently looking in very good condition.
The earliest badger emergence for months, the “little badger” arrived outside our “running water hide at 5.23pm last evening (just before the rain started) and moved the stone cover off one of the feeding bowls! The stone cover would have been close to the weight of the “little badger” (see video below)
The two badgers in the video below arrived an hour later which was an hour too late!!!
I cleared our Kestrel nesting box of Pidgeon nests yesterday along with the “Old Barn Owl box” and I thought while I had the sun over my shoulder I would clean the “little Owl” nesting box out as well. I HAD A MASSIVE SUPRISE WHEN I LIFTED THE ROOF OF IT
Click on the image twice to enlarge it
It is of course now a Bee Hive, I gently replaced the lid and secured it,the badgers will not be able to get to it 18feet up a large Ash tree
Two badgers meet
Another albino fallow deer?
It is a delight for me to see the deer enjoying what would have been a wasted apple crop, during the day there are redwings etc all helping eat the fallen apples.
Last evening was particularly busy
What happens after the badger in the video below finishes the peanuts?
The fastest mouse in the UK appears
The weather is overcast with showers and 13c too warm for this time of the year
The badgers have been emerging around 6 pm until last night when 8pm was the first badger I saw!! they all look in good condition but do vary in size somewhat with the smallest badger being the first to emerge it also has a self protecting temperament!!
The fallow deer have been keeping us company most evenings eating the grass and apples around our Mobile Home
(Click on the images to full size them)