More Badgers, plus something to Google for

More badgers tonight, but I’ll get to them in a minute. I’m going to start with an early morning shot from Falmer Pond of one of the local rodents.

Rats

The rats were very active today (sunshine brings them out), and so it seems were Google; or at least their Street View car which I encountered this afternoon outside the university’s conference centre at Varley Halls, on the outskirts of Brighton. The car cannot have missed me so I’ll now be checking Google Maps to see when they update the image.

Google Street View car

Meanwhile our garden goes on providing a haven for local wildlife. A fox popped its head up early evening (but was gone before I could even think about a photo. The newts don’t have such an easy escape and since I cleared it out a little at the weekend I can actually see them.

Smooth newt

I’ll get down to some serious macro work at some point, but at the moment my 200mm is glued to the camera at night all the better to photograph the badgers. Here’s a couple of portraits.

Badger

Badger

Camera note: newt and photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens. The rat and Google car taken with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

The Friendly Badger

Our local badgers have always been very shy and difficult to photograph, but that may be changing. Last night one of the two badgers that visits regularly decided that maybe I wasn’t such a great threat. It was already in the garden when I went outside, and retreated briefly while I went to put down some peanuts. But it was back almost immediately after I had stepped away. And it stayed, even following me down the garden path. Here’s the badger returning to the garden.

Badger

There was some mutual wariness. I am much bigger than a badger, but badgers have spectacular claws and very large teeth. We both agreed to keep a sensible distance from each other. The photos are all taken with a 200mm lens which was set to a minimum focus distance of 3.5 metres. The closest we came was probably around 5 metres, but the real gain was in being able to get some shots in slightly more natural surroundings.

Badger

This next one is just a shot with the badger on the raised rear patio, but note the second badger loitering to the rear. It was noticeably more cautious and didn;t venture forward while I was there.

Badger

This is another shot of the shy badger.

Badger

After 15-20 minutes, the bolder of the pair plucked up courage to venture down the garden towards me. I plucked up ‘courage’ to retreat a little further.

Badger

Badger

And a cheery farewell from a very friendly badger.

Badger

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

Starling and Robin Portraits

Some very simple shots today, of two very common British birds. I’ll start with the starling. At first glance these birds are very ordinary looking, but up close they disclose a beautiful iridescent plumage, nicely set off by the brilliant yellow beak. I saw this one on a wall during a walk along the cliffs at Rottingdean today.

starling

starling

starling

Robins are also extremely common, and while mainly a ‘small brown bird’ they are of course blessed with stunning red breast plumage. This one came out into the garden yesterday, shortly after we’d been working out there. That’s a common trait: they are very inquisitive and will often go to newly worked soil to investigate and take any easy pickings.

robin

Not much new to report on the foxes. The trail camera indicates there are just two visiting at the moment, and while I’ve had a couple of brief direct sightings they are very shy and won;t allow themselves to be photographed. Unlike the badger (also one of a pair). This is from last night.

badger

Camera note: all bird photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. The badger was photographed with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.