Tag Archives: badger

Badger and bat surveys, Staffordshire (2015)

I did a Phase 1 habitat survey on this site last year and remembered thinking that owing to the mature trees on site, some sort of bat survey would be a good idea.  Turns out the client (a small ecological consultancy) thought so too, and so I was duly summoned back to site to learn whether there was any significant bat activity.  Or, indeed, any badger activity, as this is a rural area.

I roped in my friend J, who has snazzier bat recording equipment than I do, and the benefit of a bat licence, and off we went to find out. Continue reading

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Badger surveying for the first vaccinations of 2015 :)

North-east Cheshire has some of the least subtle badgers I’ve ever met.  Not content with leaving super-obvious spoil heaps all over the adjacent wooded bank, this badger decided to make a hole actually in the arable field adjacent, for easy access to all those lovely worms (!)

2015-05-09 11.21.10 (800x450) Continue reading

Repeat badger survey for Year 2 vaccination site, Cheshire (2015)

Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group are looking forward to vaccinating again this year at the same sites we did last year.  Why go back to the same places again?  We hope to keep catching and vaccinating badgers at the same sites for five consecutive years, so that we have done our best to give herd immunity to the social groups living in our target areas.

This time around, the only badger signs on the part of the target site I was sent to were badger footprints around a cattle trough.  But there were plenty of them!  A veritable badger motorway:

badger motorway Continue reading

Badger vaccination surveys are here again :)

Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group are building on their vaccination programme started last year.  We hope to include more sites in 2015, but our priority is to make sure we vaccinate again at all the sites we did last year.  Guidance is that we need five consecutive years’ vaccination at each site to obtain herd immunity, so that’s what we’re going to do!

We began by re-surveying a site near Chester.  Each site needs to be surveyed prior to vaccination to see whether anything has changed or any new setts have been dug which might be good locations for trapping badgers.  It’s quite a bit easier re-surveying a site than it is starting from scratch, as you can imagine, and it was gratifying to find that the badger setts recorded last year were still active and that activity patterns seemed fairly consistent with last year’s results.  This suggests we would do well to put the bait and traps out in the same places as last year.

badger surveyors at work

Hopefully the other sites needing re-survey this year will be as straightforward 🙂

Vaccinating badgers at another site in Cheshire

We vaccinated three farms in 2014 and this is the third and final one.  Catch rates again were excellent with twice as many badgers captured on the second night as on the first.  We thought there were three individuals based on camera trap footage but we actually managed to catch four at once so obviously there were a few more camera-shy ones lurking… Continue reading

Vaccinating badgers with Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group

My friend Paul and I were privileged to be invited to help vaccinate badgers on the first two sites vaccinated by the badger group in 2014.  Thank you !

Our role was to head out before sunrise and check each trap to see whether we had caught any badgers, then radio in to the vaccinators so they knew how many badgers we had captured and where.  We then got to watch as the licensed vaccinators did the deed and released the badgers.

We set off at 4am to reach the vaccination site and once again I was grateful to whoever invented coffee.

yup, it was dark Continue reading

Preparing for badger vaccination with Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group

Much excitement as we edge closer to starting our vaccination programme for real.  The surveys are done.  The vaccinators have been trained.  We have our licence.  We have our traps.  We know where we want to put them.  And by the time you read this we will have started pre-baiting with peanuts and hopefully trapping and vaccinating badgers at at least one of our sites.

To support all this activity I attended a training session on how to pre-bait badger traps.  We only have a couple of vaccinators, so we need an army of pre-baiters available to visit each site daily, check whether the badgers are taking the bait, adjust the bait if necessary and generally act as minions to the vaccinators until we reach the stage where the badgers are familiar and comfortable with the traps.  When this happens, we call the vaccinators who will come to site, set the traps, and come back in the morning to vaccinate any badgers trapped in accordance with their training.

I’m looking forward to getting involved once the botanical survey season is more or less over towards the end of September.  No doubt by the end of October I will be fully familiar with all the local places to buy large quantities of peanuts at odd times of day…. loving it 🙂