background image

Badgers in my garden

Over the last year the solitary male badger that visits my garden sporadically has aquired a family of three boisterous youngsters. I guess these are his cubs but generally he never arrives when they do, tending to choose the wee hours of the morning in contrast to the late evening when they climb the wall to get into the garden.

It has been fascinating to follow the antics of the three cubs as they have matured during the summer and autumn. When they first put in an appearance they always stuck together but as the season progressed they have split up slightly with often one turning up before the other two. This solitary cub is clearly far braver than his/her siblings and is always the first to explore.

Because of the erratic nature of their arrivals I have tended to use the remote camera and trigger, now termed camera trapping (though trapping is rather an emotive descriptive word!). By the late summer apples started to fall from the tree so I planned a series of images around these. Once they had worked my mini orchard (one single apple tree!) I noticed that they were spending less time in my garden.

It became obvious that as they aged their range was extending and they were exploring most of the gardens around my house and eventually making their way to the riverine woods below the road I live in.

To get to these woods they boldly walk along roads and pavements, though these, late at night have very few cars or folk staggering around. However, I didn’t feel bold enough to leave a camera and flash out all night in the road so I reverted to more conventional photography triggering the camera manually. This meant sitting in my car waiting for the badgers to appear.

This summer has been a productive one for me as I have returned more to my conservation routes by volunteering with both the Derbyshire badger vaccination project and the crayfish in crisis programme in the South West of the Peak yet my local badgers have been a brilliant project, and one I will keep returning to as the winter blows in.