At Last I’ve Found A Badger Sett!

Badger silhoueete I’ve been looking for an active Badger sett close to home for a few months. I’d been told about two other places where I could find Badger setts. Unfortunately when I checked them out I found they were inactive – no Badgers in them anymore. Luckily I stumbled across what looked like a Badger sett when I was out walking in local woodland. I set up a trail camera and confirmed it was a Badger sett and there were Badgers living in it!

Below are a few of the video clips capture by my trail camera.

Badgers. Cambridgeshire.

I’m going to keep my eye on this sett over the coming months – hopefully I’ll see some cubs in the Spring.

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BWPA – Highly Commended.

Camera Silhoueete I was lucky enough to have one of my photographs highly commended in this year’s BWPA (British Wildlife Photography awards). I went to the award ceremony and book launch at the Mall Galleries in London where my photo was on display.

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My ‘highly commended’ photograph

The photograph is a silhouette of a bush cricket taken at the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve in Cambridgeshire.

The photograph will appear in this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards book.

Front Cover
Front cover of this year’s British Wildlife book

Photo In Book
My photograph on page 87

I was also lucky enough to meet Miranda Krestovnikoff who was hosting the event. She very kindly signed my copy of the book. Miranda’s Web Site

Miranda
Thanks to Miranda for signing my copy of the book

 

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After The Rain.

Rain SilhouetteAfter a few days of rain it was good to get out in the fresh air again. The wind had dropped and the sun was out so I though it might be a good day for some macro photography. There was an abundance of raindrops on leaves and spider webs which always make good photographic subjects.

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Raindrops on a spiders web can make an interesting photograph

As usual this time of year there were plenty of spiders around.

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Garden spider

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Long -jawed Orb Weaver spider

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Outfoxed The Fox.

Fox  I’ve always had a problem getting any decent photo’s of a Fox. The wiley Fox with it’s great eyesight and sense of hearing always seems to be one step ahead of me. That is until recently when I  visited a quiet part of the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve. I came across a young Red Fox out hunting.

Fox 1
A Red Fox concentrating on the hunt

I was lucky, it was quite a windy day so any noise I made was masked out by the rustling grass and leaves, also the wind was blowing towards me (or more importantly away from the Fox) so it would be harder for the Fox to pick up my scent.

I watched the Fox for about an hour, during that time I witnessed four sucessful hunts.

Fox EatingA sucessful hunt

Eventually the Fox saw me. I expected it to run off but it didn’t. As long as I kept my distance the the Fox didn’t appear to be bothered by my presence.

Fox 2
I’ve been spotted

This close encounter gave me the opportunity to get some nice photo’s of this elusive mammal.

Fox Portrait
Red Fox portrait

I’m hoping to bump into this Fox on a future visit to Woodwalton Fen.

 

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Late Summer Nectar Source.

Silloueete Fly Towards the end of summer insects may be finding it hard to find a source of nectar but at the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve there is a late flowering plant that will provide a good source of nectar,  Broad-leaved Ragwort.

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Broad-leaved Ragwort

The bright yellow flowers of the Broad-leaved Ragwort plant attract insects and butterflies particulary Hoverflies.

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A Hoverfly

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A Hoverfly living up to it’s name

The Broad-leaved Ragwort isn’t as prolific as Common Ragwort. Although there is a good showing of this plant it doesn’t spread uncontrollable.

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A good showing of Ragwort in front of Rothchilds bungalow

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Streaks Ahead.

Butterfly silhoueete There are a group of butterflies in the UK called Hairstreaks. Here in Cambridgeshire  I’m lucky enough to live within a few miles of four Hairstreak species; Black-letter Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak and Green Hairstreak.

Four Hairstreaks
Black-letter, Purple, White-letter and Green Hairstreaks

As you can see from the above photograph the Black-letter, Purple and White-letter hairstreaks all  have similar markings.

Butterfly side silhoueete Black-letter Hairstreak
Wing Span: 37mm.
Caterpillar: Mid April to Mid May.
Chrysalis: Middle two weeks of June.
Adult: Third week in June to third week in July.
One of the most elusive butterflies in the UK, it’s only found in thickets of Blackthorn between Oxford and Peterborough. There has been a steady decline in the number of these butterflies and as such the conservation priority is now classed as high.

Butterfly side silhoueete Purple Hairstreak
Wing Span: 37 – 39mm.
Caterpillar: Mid March to end of May.
Chrysalis: June to mid July.
Adult: July and August.
Widely distrubuted throughout southern England wherever there are Oak trees. It mainly stays in the upper parts of trees where it feeds on honeydew.

Butterfly side silhoueete Green Hairstreak
Wing Span: 33mm.
Caterpillar: Mid  May to mid June.
Chrysalis: August to April.
Adult: Mid April to mid July.
A widespread species found in small colonies. It’s the only true green butterfly found in the UK.

Butterfly side silhoueeteWhite-letter Hairstreak
Wing Span: 36mm.
Caterpillar: April and May.
Chrysalis: June to mid July.
Adult: Mid April to mid July.
Flies around the tops of trees, particulary Elm trees, it occasionally comes down to ground level to feed on the nectar of plants. Numbers declined in the 1970’s due to Dutch Elm desease but it is recovering well in some areas.

I have found a healthy population of White-letter hairstreaks in local woodland, this gave me loads of photo opportunites for a couple of weeks this summer. Hopefully I’ll get the same opportunity next summer.

 

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Close up of a White-letter hairstreak

 

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White-letter hairstreak and Cardinal beetle
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A pair of White-letter hairstreaks

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A Staggering Find.

Beetle Silhouette On a recent late afternoon walk around the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve I noticed a huge black beetle on the top of a fence post. It was at the right height to get some photos of this impressive beetle.

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A huge black beetle

I’d never seen this type of beetle before but a quick search on Google revealed this was a  Lesser Stag Beetle – a smaller cousin of the larger Stag Beetle.

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An impressive  Lesser Stag Beetle

They can often be seeing flying around on warm evenings from May to October.

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Resting On A Fence post

Lesser Stag beetles are nocturnal, and are attracted to lights at night. In the daytime they can be found sheltering amongst rotten wood and leaf litter.
Unlike Stag Beetles which only live  a few weeks, Lesser Stag Beetles live for at least a year. They spend the winter under bark, or deep inside rotting wood.

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