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Active badgers, Rats & Tawnies and a stunning Buzzard!

It has been quite busy on the badger front this week! There are up to 4 badgers in our artificial sett on site, some coming over to the camera sett as well at various points in the night, but returning to this one during daylight hours. They have been bringing in extra bedding too… maybe they know we are going to have another cold spell before we can finally welcome Spring here!

They often spend quite a lot of time out in front of the sett, sometimes snoozing at the entrance. There can also be a lot of grooming and scent marking and the special badger scratch, of course….

We don’t usually see the badgers peeping out until at least the middle of April. This week, it was half 6 and this individual had a look outside. After watching them for so long in the light of the IR camera, it is always a treat to actually see them in colour!

They have still been visiting out camera sett chamber. With one individual enjoying a sleep…. well trying to, the 2nd individual was decidedly restless….

Despite our best efforts to keep them out of the small mammal box with large slabs on top and buggy cords, they still manage to get in to steal the food… I am going to call this one ‘Hoover’!

Every now and then we capture another mustelid on site; the stoat. Good to know they are still around.

We are nearing the final week of incubation for our tawny and excitement in building as we wait for our three eggs to hatch. The male has been pretty good this week, bringing in a mixture of wood mice and young rats for the female. The young rats provide a really good sized meal for her.

Just like the badgers, we occasionally get to see our female looking out before it is dark. She always leaves to box for her comfort break very early in the evening, but usually after dark. It was good to see her this night, just as the light was fading…

The male, on the other hand, has been loving his private decking at the Owl Mansion. He spent several days at this box, mainly sunning himself on the decking in broad daylight! Sadly, my Bushnell was slightly too close, so I got 160 fantastic frame-filling clips of a slightly out-of-focus tawny. Very frustrating, but I will figure out a way to capture the footage I want. Meanwhile, it is a total pleasure to be able to watch this stunner and I hope to get some images with my DSLR if he obliges on one of the days I am on site!

Both male and female kingfisher have been back sporadically this week, but it was this buzzard on the post that really took the prize this week. It has been around the site a lot, hunting the young rats that are out and about. When you set a camera up for Kingfishers, the angle is not quite right for a bird this size!!

Finally, the great tits have been checking out our new HandyKam IP camera nest box. I really hope they decide to nest here as all my boxes have blue tits in at home. A little warm sunshine will really get these guys into full nest-building mood. I’m looking forward to the footage from this new box.


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