Snappers catch cracking wildlife shots

VIDEO How cute!These two photographs, taken by keen wildlife enthusiasts, prove that Suffolk is home to a fascinating array of animals.

HOW cute!

These two photographs, taken by keen wildlife enthusiasts, prove that Suffolk is home to a fascinating array of animals.

Keith Edmunds and his uncle Alan Baldry managed to capture the rare images of a badger and a roe deer fawn nestling in fields on the outskirts of Ipswich.

Although both the animals are usually fearful of humans, it was thanks to Mr Edmunds' field craft skills that they were able to carefully assume the correct position and make as little noise as possible to get the perfect shot.

Mr Edmunds first saw the badgers in March and has kept an eye on them since.

When Mr Baldry joined him on his watch, they left peanuts out and did not have to wait for long before seven badgers - two adults, five cubs - emerged to lap up the food.

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One even stayed around to have his photograph taken.

Mr Edmunds, 40, who has also spotted weasels and stoats near his home, said: “I'm a completely obsessive nature lover. Wherever I have lived, I have always wanted to be near farm land because there is so much wildlife around.

“I have learned field craft, which means you know how to keep noise and movement to a minimum, and make sure the wind direction is right so smell can't be detected.

“Up until five years ago the only badgers I had seen were unfortunate road casualties but now I have enjoyed some very close encounters.”

Mr Baldry, 59, who lives in Barham, said: “Badgers have a very strong sense of smell so you couldn't wear aftershave.

“There was one which kept hanging around as if he wanted his picture taken. We got there at about 7.30am and were so lucky to see them.

“It was a great thrill to see them in the wild and fantastic to see such a large family.”

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- View from wildlife enthusiast Keith Edmunds

“During the Easter weekend I was honoured to have two badgers trundle up to within a few feet of me. So amazed was I that I started a weekly vigil of the sett (a badger's burrow) and have been captivated by the antics of these comical mammals.

“The sett in question is home to at least seven badgers. I have identified what I believe to be the dominant boar and sow and the remaining five appear to be siblings of the same age. Mum and dad are certainly more cautious and seem to be continually alert whereas the youngsters spend much of their time play fighting and chasing one another through the sett.

“I have used all of my deer stalking skills of getting wind direction correct, wearing scent free clothing of natural tones and keeping all body movements to an absolute minimum - if I do move, I move very slowly. This has enabled me to get literally within a few feet of the sett and enjoy some very close encounters.

“Although it is widely accepted that the badger is nocturnal, daytime activity during spring and summer is common and there is every chance of 'badger watching' a good two hours before dusk.

“Harvest is now upon us and it will only be a few days before the cover of the grain fields will be gone. This may dampen their confidence and force them back to a more nocturnal lifestyle.

“Time will tell but either way I will continue to enjoy my time with these delightful creatures.”

- Did you know?

The size of the badger family, and consequently the sett, will depend on the quality of the habitat.

While food remains plentiful the family will continue to grow but if times get hard the dominant boar will start evicting the lesser members of the family who will be forced to move on and start their own clan.