27 November 2013

The badgers have now been in their new home for 4 weeks. They appear to have had a quiet night, with first and last recordings made at 19:14 and 20:39. However, one of the cameras is playing up despite showing that the batteries are ok, so they might well have been out longer. The first video showed an empty dish with the cover already knocked off. (The cameras can be a bit tempermental and guzzle batteries at quite a rate. I plan to get rechargeable batteries.)

They seemed a little lethargic, almost absent minded. One ambled around near the sett for quite a while (20 mins) as if it couldn't decide what to do. It wasn't showing any sign of nervousness, just, well, laziness--and perhaps a lack of hunger. Whereas cubs and young badgers stick together a great deal adults usually wander off and feed on their own. At this time of the year badgers don't go further than they need to; their home range is smaller in winter. A pair of eyes in the distance suggested both were out.

One dish was placed a bit further away again to lure the badgers in the right direction each night (toward a field on the edge of the wood), with the camera facing the direction of the sett. The first duly appeared from behind the camera, suggesting some wandering off the track.

Their latrine near the sett, inside what was their enclosure, is now abandoned. I haven't come across the new one yet. This will mark the edge of their territory and declare their existence to any passing badgers. There are no occupied setts nearby but badgers do pass through the wood now and then and one was killed on the road not so far away a year ago. (The recession, with a large reduction in the movement of vehicles on the roads at night, has been good for badgers). Sooner or later they will encounter other badgers.

How a badger knocks the cover off a dish: easily! Here a quail is taken away. Badgers don't normally get quail regularly, but they do eat carrion, including any dead birds they encounter.