Adventures in night-time nature photography – part 1

Last year, sometime during the haze of the first lockdown, we realised we might have badgers visiting our garden – which was a surprise to us. The main clue to the badgers’ presence was what appeared to be a badger “latrine” – but we wanted to see the animals themselves, and not just their poo.

Eager to see what was visiting our garden at night, I cannibalised a Rasperry Pi Zero W computer I had bought for a different project, and acquired a cheap IR camera module for the Pi. A few minutes with a plastic box, a sharp knife and liberal amounts of tape, I had rigged up a makeshift trail camera – and then after a bit longer with some bodged code and YouTube’s handy streaming features, I got it working.

The results were mixed at first, but after some trial and error, and figuring out where to leave food and place the camera, we had a fascinating insight into what went on in our garden after dark. We mostly saw foxes at first, but eventually did capture a badger on camera.

But the undisputed highlight of this experiment came this summer, when we saw the following interaction between Ziggy, one of our cats, and a juvenile fox. Watching this the next day, we were both horrified and impressed.

It’s taken me this long to get an edited video together – but my hope is to assemble a few more of the best clips from our night-time photography experiment.

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