Thursday, November 5, 2009

Badgers!

Last night, or late afternoon in fact as it now gets darker so much earlier, I set up to photograph the badgers again. It was very, very dark when I got myself in place; the moon, although just past full hadn't yet risen and a hail storm and period of torrential rain had ominously darkened the sky. Sitting there cold, wet in a dark wood, I did wonder, 'what am I doing?' I often do this though on a solo badger watch or photography shoot; there's always lots of better things to do popping into my mind instead of sitting there alone in a darkening wood looking at a pile of earth!
These misgivings didn't last long though. Having settled at 5.05pm after just setting up the flash units, I was surprised when at 5.16pm, 2 then 3 stripy heads emerged; in fact they may have been out a couple of minutes before I even noticed them; I just didn't expect them so early. I was fully prepared for an hour of tawny owl vocals before I saw any badgers!
Anyway, they, or certainly one, performed fantastically, moving into the exact baiting spot and not being bothered at all by 3 flash guns firing! The shot above is one of about 20 images I managed to take before the badgers moved off allowing me to retrieved the flashes and leave.
The walk out, was lovely; the moon, now risen, was slanting through the trees and bathing the east side of Scrag in silver pools. Driving up the track I was also lucky enough to get a tawny owl perched at headlamp height. It sat there fully illuminated by the van's lights for about 5 minutes, scanning the ground and undergrowth beneath it; it is not often you get such a prolonged view of an apparently relaxed adult tawny. I shall check the same spot as I leave on Friday; if it's a regular perching spot it may prove valuable.

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