Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Here we go again

Another year starts and I am looking forward to seeing if I can photograph some Badgers from local Setts I have been watching. They have proved to be very elusive of late and although I have seen signs of their activity, I have not yet clapped eyes on a badger about its business in 2016. Mind you, we are only 10 days into the new year as I write this, but I have already been badger watching a couple of times with no success.

Yesterday’s birding threw up a few treats. Managing Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Grey Partridge and plenty of Skylarks, so I was pleased with that.

My thoughts though are with badgers at the moment, so later that day I went to check out another badger sett I keep an eye on. Activity here is really ramping up and although it isn’t as local to me as the sett I frequently visit, I feel it may house a bigger colony of Meles meles and allow for more successful observation. 


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I intend spending more of my free time watching and attempting to photograph badgers this year, and my free time in January will be spent just watching and attempting to learn the best times to arrive to maximise my chances of a successful encounter. If I can try to ascertain the routines of the badgers in these setts I could save myself a lot of siting around and cut down on waiting time. I may try to use a trail camera to record the comings and goings of these setts where possible and see if there is noticeable pattern in the times these badgers emerge to begin an evenings foraging and the times they return.

It isn’t unfortunately as easy as just placing a trail camera on site and collecting it again a week or so later; these setts are not in remote areas and an unconcealed trail camera will soon disappear.

I only own one trail camera at the moment, but I think i may add another one or two to my collection of equipment this year. It will all depend on finding suitable sites to install and leave them to do their thing while being relatively confident that someone won’t find and pocket it a couple of days later.

I ended up digging out the trail camera and setting it up at this location. It was difficult to conceal and i spent a bit of time camouflaging it so it didn’t easily stand out. I have seen the odd badger at this location when our paths have unexpectedly crossed, but it is the first time I have set a trail camera here. It’s been a while since I used the trail camera and rookie mistake, i forget to check how I had it set to capture pictures. Unfortunately, I had it set to leave 10 mins between each activation; great for leaving somewhere for month, but not ideal for a few days when you would like to capture a lot of activity.

Forty eight hours later, most of it being accompanied by torrential rain, I decided to check on the camera. Rainy, misty nights aren’t great for any type of photography. It was after work, dark and still raining. It was difficult to get to the sett as I needed to walk up quite a steep hill. The mud was very slippy due to the ground being ripped up by fools on scrambling bikes prior to the rain. It really was a case of two steps forward and slide back one. On reaching the area, I noticed the rain had caused some subsidence and someone had cordoned the area off. If the area was going to be getting some attention, I decided I would remove the camera.

It was once at home when checking the SD card I realized I had not had the camera set on the best settings, nevertheless, I had captured a few shots of a couple of the sett’s residents.


So, my badger picture account for 2016 is open with pictures of some badgers I have never camera trapped before. I will resume my interest in this area as the weather improves.

I am more interested in my very local sett and its residents (or maybe resident) at the moment. Activity suggest there is more than a solitary badger in this sett, but my last sightings of 2015 after the sett was damaged was of the same solitary boar. Hopefully, this group will reassemble? I will keep my eye on it.

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