Badgers have been filmed at their sett in the nature reserve from two camera angles on one burrow so far (sites 2 and 3). Site 4 is around the other side of the same sett, and the videos below, from mid- to late-June, predictable show badger activity; though the more elevated location of the burrow means the behaviour shown so far is of passing animals than of entrances/exits/digging of the burrow itself. See the video details for dates and times.
Footage of badgers, let alone the juvenile who emerged last week for the first time since we started filming, has been scarce since. Instead, two foxes have been seen at the sett - one affected by mange, the other seemingly in better health. The videos below are all from Thursday 2013.5.16: the first, at 08:28, shows a fox catching scent outside the same burrow at site 3:
At 12:53 a different fox is seen entering the main burrow; though he must have escaped soon afterwards too quickly for the camera to trigger!
A final video (18:42) shows the earlier fox return and run past the set briefly.
A future project might be locating a fox den, and seeing what we can film there.
'Site 3' is a negligible distance from site 2, but shows a wider angle on the same burrows of the badger sett filmed last week. There hasn't been as much activity in recent nights as we saw on the first night of filming here, but early on Thursday morning (2013.5.9, 2:49am), the juvenile badger is seen emerging from the sett next to a parent.
Our two videos of the badger on the school site were taken at 23:21 and 3:12 during the same night (2013.4.30 - 5.1); they seem to show the same animal foraging for food.
The next stage was a 'recce' of the possible locations for badger filming in the woodland of the nature reserve, and several sites seemed promising. For obvious reasons - indeed, establishing a trend - I will not locate the site, but will name it 'site 2'. Site 2 is what we hoped would be a working badger sett, and we were rewarded, on the first night of filming, with the footage below.
The first two videos, taken at 21:03 and 05 on 2013.5.2 (Thurs) show a badger emerging from the burrow of its sett and scratching profusely!
Even more excitingly, this next clip - filmed at 21:06 - shows a glimpse of a youngster in the sett as the adult badger departs. A final video (not published here due to its brevity) showed the badger return at 5:17 on 2013.5.3 (Fri), an absence of approx 8 hours during the night.
[If desired, the other two videos from this same evening can be viewed on the KESWildlife YouTube channel].
... unexpected at 'site 1', at any rate. The above video was captured at 23:21 one evening on the first couple of days of trialing the trail camera at this location. We were aware that badgers had been sighted on the school grounds, but were delighted to see one so soon. The same food source that had attracted the squirrels and ground-feeding birds is clearly responsible.
The first task in setting up the 'conservation' project for next academic year is to establish areas - in particular, sites - of study. Some are pre-existing and obvious: the pond with the adjacent facilities (nets, trays, tanks, microscopes etc.) of the field classroom; the bird feeders which are already in use by species both common and less common, and which can be viewed from the bird-hide in the wall of the classroom. But others have to be established.
I have called the process of establishing some of these sites 'trail trials' due to what will become a major method for surveying wildlife - the trail camera: motion-triggered, infra-red capable, and able to be left 'in the field' for extended periods with video or images collected at a later time.
An obvious location for a first attempt is shown in the videos below. While it may be recognisable to some, I will simply name it 'site 1'. With a pre-existing source of food, it already attracts squirrels, wood pigeons, stock doves, magpies, crows, and ground-feeding smaller birds such as the chaffinch. It may be the precursor of a future mammal feeding-station elsewhere.
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