It was very exciting this week to be able to upload the first badger footage from our Yew View camera badger sett! I had seen that an individual had visited the chamber for the first time, via the iCatcherWild app on my phone, but the poor Internet connection on site, means the footage can be a little pixellated. I was keen to see how the image looked in the sett, with a badger inside! The badger had other ideas, however and started its visit with a muddy nose on the camera dome!
I was, however, very pleased with the footage and the balance of the IR in the sett chamber. It is very hard to predict this until your target animal is actually in there! Luckily, the way I designed the sett means that the cameras are easily lifted up the ‘chimney’ tubes and cleaned!
This individual visited on a number of occasions and I am greatly relieved to see it confidently move from once entrance, through the tunnels, to the other entrance. It is a major step in the right direction to have them exploring this space. Let’s hope over the next year or so, they start to think that they might like to move in!
We also have a rabbit visitor!
Over the last few weeks, there has been very little badger action on site. This may have been to do with the flood waters and their usual movements restricted by the high water levels. We had little footage from the outside cams on the other artificial sett, but this week that all changed! There were three individuals at the sett and they looked like they were moving back in. This sett seems to be used as a satellite sett. It only has 2 chambers, as far as we know. We think the main sett is in an adjoining garden or woodland close by. This is where we think the dominant female, who will be having her cubs now, is based.
These three individuals spent a lot of time collecting new bedding materials… a shame they weren’t doing this into the camera sett… next season maybe!
I did capture some very interesting behaviour though! I have got lots of footage of them collecting dead grass, hay and leaves for bedding. I have never seen them actually pull up live plant material for bedding. These clips clearly show this individual pulling up the leaves from a plant growing outside and then taking them down into the sett. Just imagine if that had been in the camera sett! We would have been able to watch them bring that inside…. fingers crossed, we will one day!
The harvest mice are still visiting, but I made some adjustments to the feeding station this week. I replaced the solid roof, that was blocking out a lot of light, with a clear dome (actually a squirrel baffle!)
I was having some condensation issues with the plastic housing I had put the camera, so I adapted an old nest box to house it instead…
They are still visiting the Mammal Box as well!
I have also set up two other feeding stations, each with Bushnells. Last week, the camera slipped so I didn’t get any footage.
We are starting to gear up for Spring with our nest boxes. This year , we have a new nest box from ‘Wildlife Windows’. We have nicknamed it the ‘Posh Box’ as it has a painted interior and lights inside. These operate on a sensor, turning on when it gets light and off when it gets dark. This interior lighting means the image inside is especially good. Within a couple of days of the box going up, a pair of blue tits were looking inside.
Our tawny pair are still visiting the box regularly. I am not entirely happen with the focus that seems to have slipped slightly. I will have a go at refocusing it next week.
Nice, also, to see these rather handsome pheasants strutting their stuff around the site too…
Looking forward to seeing how much more badger activity we get next week… the peanuts thrown down the entrances will help them overcome their initial trepidation and I am hoping they will then see the potential for their next den!