Saturday, 21 March 2015

Badger Watching

For reasons unknown to me this blog entry vanished last night. Thank you to the people who informed me it had disappeared.
Regards, Moocher.

I have of late been spending more of my time watching local Badgers. If you have never been close to wild Badgers it's an experience difficult to put into words. Listening to their chattering calls as they communicate with each other in the dark, and being so close to them in the darkness that I can hear them breathing is an amazing experience. I feel privileged being in such close proximity to these amazing creatures. 

They are very active at the moment with the increasing temperatures and have been busy excavating their existing Sett and exploring new areas with exploratory but quite significant digs. I'm not sure if any this group has any cubs yet. If they have, they will have been born in the last 4 weeks or so. They won't be seen above ground until around mid April.

I have tried various ways of capturing their antics on digital camera or video, but all attempts have failed. I didn't want to disturb them with electronic flashes and end up with pictures of startled Badgers. In the end, I purchased an infrared trail camera. I didn't have a lot of luck with the first one, it quickly developed a fault and was promptly returned to the supplier. I replaced it with a better quality secondhand model, and initial results are promising.
I often set up the trail camera and stay in the area to observe the antics of the Badgers. A few images are nice to look at after the event, but nothing beats being there watching their antics. Also, trail cameras aren't cheap and I know a few people who have had theirs discovered and stolen. So, when I have finished watching the Badgers or whatever comes along, on leaving for home, I take the trail camera with me.

My first attempt at capturing some video footage. 

If you know of any local Badger setts it is worth keeping an eye on the area to ensure nothing untoward is going on. Regardless what people may think due to news coverage on Badger culls in Gloucestershire, Badgers and their setts are still very much protected by law. If you know of a Badger Sett, be very selective about who you mentioned its location to. Then, if you feel anything suspicious is happening around the sett don’t leave it to chance, report it to your local Badger protection group or the police. Dead Badgers and illegal acts against Badgers can also be reported to the Badger Trust.

The Badger Trust records all illegal acts contrary to the Protection of Badgers Act, and informs the police and the authorities of the extent of badger crime in the UK, and adds to the gathering of intelligence. 

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that illegal acts against Badgers don’t happen in your area. In our locality only this week a local birder stumbled upon this sorry sight.
This Badger had been shot at close range with a shotgun. If you find a dead Badger or suspect any wrong doing involving Badgers, report it here.  

A change of subject to Owls.

Pete had mentioned that he had found a very promising looking tree that may be used as an Owl roost or even a nest site. We went to properly check it out on Saturday morning. He was spot on about Owls using the tree. We found Owl Pellets at the foot of the trunk. It looks good for a potential Tawny nesting site. We will keep an eye on it and see what develops. 

I couldn’t resist bringing a couple of pellets home and dissecting them. Its been a few years since I last did this. The pellets looked quite recent and don’t have the sheen on the surface of them that you tend to see in Barn Owl pellets, time will tell what the culprit actually is.

The Pellets


The contents of the Owl Pellets


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