For several years now, I have been keen to expand my camera knowledge gained in my patch, by taking on a bigger camera project. Working at Yew View has given me wonderful opportunities to experiment with all sorts of camera and wildlife projects, but this latest project is the most exciting yet! My garden is not big enough to create a large den camera system, but there is plenty of scope at Yew View. As you may know, we already have an artificial badger sett there, that was installed some 7 years ago when the owners first bought the property. There are no internal cameras, but we have had cams on the outside of the two sett entrances and gained some great footage of the sett being regularly used. Over the last few months, we have been discussing the possibility of creating another sett, near to the existing one, using the same kind of piping. This one, however, would have a big improvement to the existing sett; it would have internal HD cameras.
I started to research how we might do this and approached some contacts who I thought may be able to help me. Jason Fathers, from Wildlife Windows had already built some artificial setts and these had been used successfully. Check out his website to find out more about some of the projects he and his team have been involved in. Jason agreed to help me to build the sett and I was delighted to have his expertise and knowledge on board. When creating a project like this, it is essential to pull on knowledge gained through experience…. and Jason has lots of experience!
A couple of weeks ago, whilst there was a digger on site, the area for the new badger sett was cleared and levelled. It is on the badgers’ route to the feeding station from their existing artificial sett, so they will be passing this site every night. The area I chose is on a bank, but was covered in brambles. With help from Tom and Pete, who work in the garden and Ed in his digger, the sea was soon cleared and levelled, ready for the sett to be built. Halted by the small issue of a drainage pipe running through the centre of the proposed site, we moved forward a little and the pipe was repaired and left in situ.
Jason and I had had many conversations about how we were going to build the sett and the materials to build it from. Having built a number of successful setts already, I was keen to utilise as much of Jason’s knowledge as possible, yet create something that was perfect for the Yew View site and mimicked the existing Sett as much as possible to maximise the chances that our badgers would take to it. For this reason, we chose to use the same piping that they are used to using. This is 225mm drainage pipe, with the chambers being made out of recycled sleepers.
We started by laying out a series of slabs to deter the badgers from digging out and creating their own chambers, away from our cameras! The sleepers were cut to length and then laid out on the slabs.