I stopped the car right away and pulled over. But the badger turned around and disappeared into the shrubs. I didn't want to disturb it, but I was interested in seeing if it would come into view again. There were dense shrubs along the side of the road, but open grassland just beyond the shrubs. I wondered if the badger would head back to the grassland, so I decided to walk a wide arc around the shrubs for a better view of the grassland. From a distance, I scanned with binoculars, but I didn't have any luck spotting the badger again. The ever elusive badger!
While walking back to the car among the shrubs, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a large pile of dark soil. I thought it might be badger diggings from a previous day, but it could have been something else, so I decided to take a quick look to confirm. I walked up to it and noticed that it looked very moist and newly excavated. And then I was surprised to see just a little bit of soil shift at the burrow entrance! It wasn't my imagination, the soil moved!
The badger was probably down inside that burrow at that very moment. Amazing. Later I learned that badgers will dig burrows for all sorts of reasons that we usually think of, such as for shelter and foraging, but also for escape, and that's what I was probably seeing. [I read that Joseph Grinnell reported that badgers can dig these escape burrows in under 2 minutes!]
Unfortunately, it's likely that the badger was escaping from me...or at least the circumstance of being frightened or disturbed when my car approached it along the road. I took a couple of quick pictures (below) and then left the area.
P.S. In April 2012 I posted a few other examples of badger diggings and one of the only badger photos I've taken — you can review that post here.