Devon Badger Watch

Devon badger watch is located on a former dairy farm near Tiverton in Devon. They run evenings dedicated to photography where up to four photographers use their hide which is located adjacent to a badger sett. The hide has been built to give a low 'badger's eye' point of view which is ideal for photography. I've visited the site three times, in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and I've had very enjoyable evenings each time. 

 

The owners are very knowledgeable about the badgers and are happy to share this with their guests.

 

Peanuts are put out as a tempting snack for the badgers and this results in them coming quite close to the hide, on my first and last visits they came to within just a few feet. They don't seem to be concerned by the sound of shutters clicking which is just as well!

One of the main challenges when photographing badgers is the low light level. Even during the summer there is not much light reaching the woodland floor. There is the option to use flash but personally I prefer shots without this. This is one wildlife location where the speed of the lens you have is probably more important than the focal length. On my last visit I used an F2.8 120-300mm zoom on my Canon 5D MkIII. I used this lens at both ends of its zoom range however on my first visit I actually took some shots with a 17-40mm zoom so that gives an idea on how close the badgers do sometimes get to the hide. Most shots that I took without flash have been at ISO 3200 or higher. The light levels have varied across each of my visits depending on the time of the year and the brightness of the evening.

 

There is room in the hide to use a tripod but I personally prefer a monopod. It is possible to setup tripod mounted flash guns outside of the hide however I haven't tried this. Using on camera flash has the usual problem of red eye type effects although these can be removed in post processing.

 

There is a toilet at the farm but no other facilities. This isn't a problem however as the time in the hide is usually less than two hours long so there is no real need to take food or drink along.

In Summary

When to visit: summer to maximise the natural light levels.

 

What to photograph: badgers.

 

Cost: £30 per person for photography evenings based on four sharing or £120 for exclusive use (booking required).

 

Location: near Tiverton in Devon.

 

Devon Badger Watch website.

If you'd like to see more of my wildlife photography, click here.

 

You can contact me at [email protected].

 

All images on this page are Copyright (c) 2014 Paul Waldron.

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