22 December 2013

Finally, a freezing night.

I moved the camera inside the exit to the field a bit further back along the path leading straight to it (there's another at right angles along a bank). I managed to photograph one badger coming and going.

Leaving.</font size>

Returning, 3 mins later. A call of nature?</font size>

Again the badgers played on the path outside the rear entrance to the sett -- at 4AM -- but the cold and low batteries resulted in some hopelessly dark and brief videos. But the camera did at least give an indication of how long they were out: from about 19:17 to 4:50 (and probably later -- the last clip was of a badger heading away from the sett). Quite a long night really, given the temperature.

I moved another camera into the wood along the trail the badgers take away from the sett and moved their dish along with it. The first arrived at 19:23, a few minutes after emergence. It scent marked the ground beside the dish and carried on, then returned a minute later. Another arrived at 19:45, nudged the rock on the cover of the dish and sent it sliding off.

Badgers use more brawn than brain when it comes to removing weighted boards on top of dishes. A couple of times I've watched these badgers eating with the weight of a heavy board on their heads because they aren't smart enough to flick it off, and I've seen them pass the weight from one to the other before it accidentally gets shoved out of the way. Rocks usually get moved because the power of the nose nudging the board out of the way is sufficient. I see now that a dish on a slope is helpful for getting the rock off cleanly and permitting the entire dish to be exposed at once.

The diners ate in a familiar sequence: Róisín, the fox, Benji, with the fox putting in an early appearance this time, at 20:39. Benji returned just after midnight, made a further passing visit at 3:02 and another at 3:40 when he was last seen sitting on his haunches leaning against a tree and having a scratch as Róisín nosed around in the foreground.

This evening none of the visits to the field, or in that direction, were very long -- a few minutes only.