Badger Project Update (revised 11/06/09)

11th June 2009
As this project progresses I will try to keep you updated with the latest trials and tribulations. As you can see from the gallery I have already managed to capture a couple of shots, unfortunately not at the standard I hope to get eventually.

I hope to visit again within the next few evenings, but if your planning your own badger watch or project hear are a few pointers that I would pass on which may assist you.

1) Bait - The badgers at my sett love peanuts so take some along and place them in a position that gives you the best view. I have also heard that peanut butter is a favourite but have not tried this.

2) Wind Direction - Very important to have the wind blowing into your face or at least not directing your scent towards the badgers. Although their eyesight is poor they will smell you very easily. I have managed to watch these badgers while only being five yards away by simply placing myself with my back against a tree and they have not spotted me.

3) Wrap up well even if its warm - I put this on for two reasons. Firstly you're going to be there from when the sun is still up until its dark, so you can experience a huge temperature change. Secondly, and I have found this to my cost, midges and mozzies love nothing better than a large hairless mammal as a sitting target! If you don't cover up you could end up getting bitten to death.

4) Portable light source - Although I haven't used one of these I did get to a point on my last session when the camera would not focus as it got too dark. I have seen this done before where a light is placed to illuminate the area where you have put your feed. This did not bother the badgers in the least. Please note however, that the welfare of your subjects is paramount so if you think it will cause disturbmance please err on the side of caution.

If I discover any more useful points that crop up throughout this project I will update this news story so keep checking in!

27th May 2009

Well, managed to get up to the sett again last night and true to my word about involving the family I made the visit with Leia my ten year old daughter. We had a really great time with a total of seven badgers coming out before it got dark and we had to leave. Photography I'm afraid took a back seat as we watched the three youngsters going ballistic. It was all we could do to stop ourselves bursting out laughing with there antics, culminating in Norman (named by my daughter) doing a 360 degree spin then rolling backwards down a steep slope. I'm sure this wasn't the effect he was looking for!

Anyway, I had moved under the trees for this session as I thought that the badgers where coming out earlier in this heavily shaded area. This proved to be the case and almost as soon as I had put peanuts down the youngsters where out. It was 7.30pm. Throughout the session the badgers stayed further away than we would have liked and did not approach the bait, they obviously knew that something was not quite right and this could have been due to the wind direction which may have been pushing our scent across them.

I did manage to get a shot of one of the youngsters and I will post that up in the badger gallery later today if its come out Ok.

01/06/09

Another eventful evening with the badgers. Got there early on a lovely sunny evening, and the young badgers where out almost before I'd set up my kit after putting down the peanuts.

The interaction between the youngsters and adults was very interesting, culminating in one of the youngsters agressively causing one of the adult badgers to move off from his stash of peanuts, something I wouldn't have thought possible. One of the images in the gallery shows the two side by side so you can clearly see the size difference.

I also had the pleasure of meeting another badger watcher at the site tonight. A retired chap who had never thought it possible to get so close to these wild creatures. We did spend quite a lot of time talking which cut down the number of pictures I took, but it just goes to prove that watching wildlife doesn't have to be a solitary existance. I also have to admit that he did give me a couple of tips of interesting site to take pictures of other wildlife! More updates later.

11/06/09

Just a short update - I hope to get another session in with the badgers in the next few days. After reviewing my images so far I am going to try and tone down the harshness of the flash by adding a homemade 5 minute diffuser (cut form an old milk carton) I had hoped to getaway without flash but my move under the trees has now ment that this is not possible, so the plan is to try and get a softer light more flattering to the subjects. A picture of my bodge diffuser is shown below and I will post some new images taken with it shortly. Please let me know what you think.



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