Polecat Excitement!

It is just about a year since we built our badger sett at Yew View and the hard work is now being rewarded. Over the last month or so, we have been capturing some great footage of badgers and foxes sleeping in the chambers and this week we captured something really exciting there… a polecat! This is  a new species for the site as we have not seen them here before and, realistically, we were unlikely to do so if it weren’t for all the cameras we have on site. It does not surprise me at all that they are present… lots of rat and small rodent prey around and we have capture their close relatives, the weasel and stoat on our cameras. This individual visited both sett chambers and I captured it , briefly, outside the sett on the cam we have there. I also recorded it outside the other badger sett.

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Since I left last week, it has visited the chambers again and we have got even better footage which I will upload next weekend. I am hoping we will see more of this individual and that we can capture some clips of it on the Bushnells. It visited in daylight!

The badgers have visited a few times and have bought more bedding into the sett. We are providing some straw outside the entrance and they are bringing other dead plant material inside too.

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Every time they spend time in here, I get more excited. the next major step will be when an individual stays there during the day!

We have had a couple of visits by the otters… both male and female visited to sniff and spraint, with the female spending some time rolling around outside the holt entrance. The foxes have been sniffing around and scent marking as well as going into the holt so maybe she was putting her scent back onto the area!

The mink still make an occasional appearance . In the same location, it is useful to see a size and shape comparison…

Another favourite capture from this week was of the Grey Wagtail. I rarely see this species onsite, but it came and perched twice on the kingfisher post…. such a gorgeous little bird who seems to be unable to stop wagging!…

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Finally, for this week’s updates.. and exciting new development! We have been getting some great footage of our night visitors to the feeding station. I thought how great it would be to get some lights there; enough to get the camera to film in colour. We have now had two LED, adjustable  lights installed that we can control from a remote. They come on at dusk and off at dawn. Mounted on a mini slab, with plenty of cable, I can move them around.

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Initially, my plans were to start them on a low-level and then gradually raise the brightness until we could get the camera to be in colour and for the badgers and foxes to get used to them. Knowing they use to feed outside the back door with the security floodlight on, I felt sure they would not be too worried. I decided to put the light on pretty much maximum to start with. If there were no shows at the feeding station, I would dim them. I was not disappointed! On returning home and checking the camera on my icatcher console app, I was delighted to see the badgers visiting that very night, seemingly not worried at all by the sudden brightness in the area! These pictures are screen captures from my phone and I will not get the proper footage until I am on site the end of next week. Exciting though!

I am staying over next weekend, and I plan on laying out on the patio to watch these guys! I may try to take some photos too, if I can!