I started the week off by going to see Ben Garrod’s ‘So you think you know about Dinosaurs’ show in Cheltenham. It was brilliant, not only is the show informative but it is really fun. Packed with loads of film clips, questions, audience participation and tons of interesting new facts and discoveries about dinosaurs. Well worth going to see.
Back on my local patch it has been an excellent week for mammals
I noticed that the Badgers have been using a different path from normal leading out from the sett.
I followed the path and realised that they have been using a fallen oak tree as a way of getting bedding from the meadow, across the ditch and back to the sett. I am presuming they do it this way so the bedding doesn’t get wet because the ditch has running water in it at the moment.
I really wanted to catch this behaviour on film, so I set up a trail camera at each end of the log.
The first night neither camera filmed anything, which I thought was very odd because even if I don’t get any badgers I normally get at least 30 clips of wood mice.
I had recently changed the batteries in the trail camera from alkaline to lithium to get a longer life from them so I wondered if that was the problem. After re-formatting both cameras they are working again.
While I was setting up the cameras the second night I looked up as I had a feeling I was being watched and I was, by a fox.
Setting up the trail camera takes quite a bit of skill and I quite often have to try for 3 or 4 nights before I know it is in the place I want it to be. Even when I use the view finder on one of my Bushnell cameras I don’t always get the footage I want because the badgers have a habit of knocking it out of line.
I did manage to capture Smee using the tree trunk to cross the ditch, but unfortunately not dragging any hay.
I was really excited and surprised to find a clip of a Polecat on my trail camera. I have seen a couple of Polecats dead on the road a few miles from my house, but I didn’t know one lived so close.
Polecats were nearly extinct by 1915 in the UK, but since becoming protected their numbers are increasing, helped by increasing numbers of rabbits, which make up around 85% of their diet.
Along with rabbits, Polecats eat rats, birds and frogs.
Polecats are very secretive, solitary and nocturnal mammals, living in woodland during the summer, often in rabbit burrows or in a den in the bank of a stream or under tree roots. In the winter they may move in to farm yards to feed on rats. They have a home range of a square kilometre.
Hopefully this won’t be the only time I capture the Polecat on camera.