Sunday, 1 March 2015

Badgers!

We set the trail camera up at the badger sett last night and were thrilled to actually get some badger footage ...

It was the first time we'd set the trail camera up outside of our garden, so it was all a big adventure. We went out just before dark and picked a spot pointing at a couple of entrance holes and a well used trail. We tied the camera onto a tree and put a handful of peanuts on the ground (just to try and keep the badger there for a while). Then we headed home to wait until morning.

The camera was on the tree on the left - you can see the wet line on the
trunk that was left by the strap when we took it down this morning
Next morning, we headed out early (about 6.30) to go and retrieve the camera. We both couldn't wait to see what we'd find and Bug Mad Girl chattered all the way there (a sure sign she's excited!) I tried to keep her quiet as we got closer to the sett, in case anything was still out and about. I suspect they would have heard us coming though!

We were pleased to find the camera still there (for some reason I was half expecting it to have been stolen) and took it down. We could see the peanuts were gone, so knew something had been there and then we looked at the camera and found the photos and videos. How brilliant is that!



It looks like our badger headed out about 10.20 pm, returning home just after 5 am (the camera time is one hour fast - must have last used it before the clocks changed in the autumn).

video


video

A little bit more about their home ... their sett is in a bank in a wooded area and appears even larger than I first suspected. I believe there are over 30 entrance holes, but I'll have to try and count them properly some time. The Chilterns are all made of chalk, which must be perfect terrain for a badger sett. It's relatively easy to dig and is free draining, so there would never be any worries about the sett flooding. It also leaves the distinctive white mounds where the badgers have been excavating, so you can spot the entrances. At the bottom of the bank there's a lot of moss and fallen logs and you can see where the badgers have been snuffling and digging looking for food. An open, grassy area is about 20 meters away and is covered in holes and digging marks, no doubt where they've been looking for worms.
The badger sett on a bank
 
There are lots of holes around where they've been digging

The open grassy area (full of mole hills) with the sett just beyond in the trees
We had a hunt around for footprints, but it had rained earlier in the night and was very muddy. We found a few possible badger prints, but nothing very clear. We did see a few small deer prints out on the grassy area though, probably muntjac. We also found some poo - looks like it contained fur, so maybe fox poo?

Deer track, probably muntjac
Looks like something furry was eaten - maybe by a fox
Walking back, a buzzard was circling overhead, a woodpecker was drumming away in the woods and we saw a bunny hop off into cover. We were serenaded all the way back through the woods by the robins, each one taking over from the last, as we moved from one territory to another.

What a brilliant morning!

2 comments:

  1. Great stuff! I'm hoping to see them myself later this year in Norfolk. But I might try sitting and waiting for them to come out. Hope I get as lucky as you.

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  2. We were very lucky! Not sure I'd be brave enough to sit around in the woods in the dark to see them for myself though!

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