Tracking the badgers in the garden...

If you've read my other posts you'll know we've got badgers in the garden and earthworks to suggest a sett too.  The question to be asked is: is the sett active? To find out requires a bit of investigation, so I'm looking through where I place the Trail Camera and how the badger is filmed to try and backtrack the badgers movements.

I know it would be easy to say that we should put the Trail Camera over the sett to see for sure, but this hasn't been successful, partially because of the overgrowth there and partly because the camera is not as sensitive as I would like.

The success of capturing on video by feeding the badger has prompted me to look at where I site the camera in an attempt to see if I could work out where the badgers were coming from in the garden.  I'll do a simple plan of the garden shortly, but for the moment let me show you a couple of photos to explain my thinking:

First a wide angle view showing the area of the garden I'm looking at:

The area I've filmed the badgers in is on the left centre of this picture and the camera has been attached to each of the trees visible on the left of the picture looking towards the boundary of the garden at the back of the picture.  The sett mentioned above is in amongst the trees on the right.

Yet, as I said above, despite putting the camera so it overlooks the sett, I've had no photographic evidence of the badgers there.  However, in the area to the left of the trees I have had fairly repeatable results (admittedly with the bribery of some scattered nuts) with the camera attached to any of the trees there.

(note here the addition of a silvered plasticised sheet arranged over the IR LED's (but with a hole over the day/night sensor - thanks to a suggestion from Ron)) This provides better exposure at night and avoids whiteout during the videos.  This photo shows the camera mounted slightly higher than normal (at about 600mm, whereas the previous camera positions have been set lower at around 300mm).  This was very quickly successful last night with a more circumspect badger walking round the top of the field of view but this time only 15mins after I put the nuts out...  Was he waiting for me???  Who knows.

The consistency I have noted in each of the videos is that, more often than not, the badger approaches the feeding area from the left.  Not from the right, which would be the case if approaching from the sett.  So over the next few nights I'll position the camera on a different tree to see if the different view will give us some more information.

Update for 10th April:  Walnuts eaten but no images.  Camera didn't trigger.  :(
Update for 11th April:  Walnuts eaten but no images.  Camera didn't trigger.  :(
Update for 12th April:  Walnuts eaten and an image - nicely this was the badger looking for a scratching post - the camera was dirty when I recovered it this morning!

Update for 13th April:  Walnuts eaten but no images.  Camera didn't trigger.  :(
Update for 14th April:  Camera set up to record while we were away on holiday.  Various animals and birds captured, so will compile a composite movie of them all.

I still think this camera is flawed.  Insensitive PIR (only works upto 2m); infuriating 5sec delay (I get frequent empty videos because the subject has wondered off after triggering) and the LED's are too bright close to so I get whiteout.  This means to get images that are useful, I have to:
  • Make sure subjects are within 2m of the camera to trigger it
  • Hope that the subjects hang around the camera for more than 5secs and stays around for a further 15 secs to register a worthwhile capture
  • Mask out the infra red LED's cos all the action is too close to the camera and the LED's are too powerful at that range
Come on, ProStalk: Why design it one way but have to use it another to get any results?  It's time I designed my own camera, methinks...

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