30 Nights Wild, night 30

For the final night of '30 Nights Wild', I'd hoped for another close encounter with the badgers, sitting on the edge of the bramble patch next to the feeding site. Unfortunately, weather conditions were not good. There was a cold north wind and I couldn't risk sitting upwind of the feeding area, even though the cubs are getting used to my scent. I had to sit on the other side of the clearing, further from the badgers.

The cubs were out first as usual, had their peanuts and returned to the sett. Boris then appeared on the edge of the sett on my left. She came over, sniffing constantly but continuing to advance without much concern about seeing me. She had a feed and was joined by one of the cubs. Later, Jeremy emerged, took one look at me and rushed off back to the sett. I heard a rustling noise from brambles behind me. One of the cubs appeared from the other side of the clearing and went over to investigate. Then both the cubs came running out, had a chase around and d…

30 Nights Wild, night 29

At last, the wind dropped and we had a dry night. I went back up my ladder to watch the badgers, but left a camera on the ground to get some eye-level photos. It's been a while since I used the Wi-Fi on that camera, so I tested it out with my tablet before setting off. I positioned the camera carefully and got to my seat.

As I was turning on the tablet, a badger appeared at the hole on my left. Nicola emerged and was soon joined by Nigel. He was in just the right position for a photo, but I had no Wi-Fi connection - very frustrating.

Jeremy joined the cubs and they hoovered up all the peanuts before wandering off through the brambles to the big oak tree. They played on the slippery logs underneath, with Jeremy joining in, then they all had a chase around the centre of the sett, largely obscured from my view by brambles and bracken. The cubs had a final check of the feeding site, to make quite sure there were no peanuts left, and the clan went off into the woods.

30 Nights Wild, night 28

It had been cold, wet and windy all day and the evening was no better. I arrived at about 8:45, set up the dome hide and put out some peanuts, in heavy rain.

The two cubs did not let me down, they were out within five minutes. They rushed back to the sett whenever there was a particularly strong gust of wind, but kept coming back. After 20 minutes they'd had enough and returned to the sett. I packed up and was walking back to the car when an incoming badger crossed the path ahead of me. It was my shortest ever badger watch, at about 35 minutes.

30 Nights Wild, night 27

Heavy rain was forecast for about 10, so I set up my dome hide to provide some cover for the camera gear. Nicola watched me from the hole opposite and only retreated when I walked slowly towards her to put out the peanuts. She was back out again within five minutes and ate for a while before disappearing down the hole on my right.

Two minutes later she came back with Nigel. They ate together for a few minutes, then Nicola had had enough and wandered off into the brambles. Nigel continued to eat, but was a bit nervous, rushing off every few minutes, perhaps when he caught my scent, or noticed the red glow of my infrared light. Boris was keeping an eye on him, watching from the brambles. Finally, he wandered off back to the sett. I packed up just before the rain started and took my camera gear back to the car. When I returned to collect the hide, one cub was out again and Boris was still watching from the brambles.

30 Nights Wild, night 26

I went back up my ladder this evening, to watch the badgers from three metres up. Nigel was out first for a change. He spent ten minutes eating peanuts on his own, then went off through the sett to find Nicola. They came running back together two minutes later and rummaged through the leaf litter finding peanuts for quite some time.

Eventually, they'd both had enough and went off to the big oak tree to play on the slippery logs. Boris then appeared and came to the feeding site, with Jeremy turning up a minute later. They ate together for a while, then the cubs realised the adults were there and came running over. They were warmly greeted, but Boris wanted a quiet evening so didn't stay. Jeremy played with the cubs for a while before they all went off across the sett and into the woods on the other side.

30 Nights Wild, night 25

This evening I decided to sit on the ground and hand-hold the video camera, with a small infrared light attached. I also set up a GoPro on the opposite side of the feeding area, to simultaneously film the action from both sides.

There wasn't much action for a while, but eventually Nicola had the courage to emerge. Nigel took a bit longer and the light was fading by the time they were both feeding in front of me. Nicola finished first and wandered off into the brambles, leaving Nigel working his way slowly towards me. I'd evidently put out too many peanuts, as he too wandered off before reaching the food around my feet. I heard rustling in the brambles from the adults, but they wouldn't come out while I was there. As I left, the cubs were playing noisily in the centre of the sett.

30 Nights Wild, night 24

This time it was Nicola who came out before I had a chance to get to my seat. She saw me coming and dived down the nearest hole. It only took a few minutes for her to emerge again though. I sat on the ground this evening which, together with the gusty wind, made the badgers nervous.

Nigel came out to join Nicola, but Jeremy was more cautious. He edged slowly down the spoil heap leading from his hole, but then changed his mind and retreated into the brambles. Nicola was very focused on finding peanuts, while Nigel wandered around. He eventually wandered into me, but was not concerned until I moved slightly, trying to film him. He ran down the nearest hole, but emerged again within a minute and resumed peanut hunting with Nicola.