An American Badger – Paying Attention Pays Off

A few days ago while photographing Swainson’s Hawks during the evening in the Centennial Valley of southwestern Montana I felt like I was being watched and as anyone who goes into the backcountry knows that when you get that feeling it should be paid attention to so I took my eyes away from my viewfinder and looked around.

Hidden American BadgerHidden American Badger – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Wow! There were two ebony eyes peeking at me through the light golden grasses along with the strikingly marked face of an American Badger (Taxidea taxus)!

I was nearly at eye level with the Badger because the dirt road was lower than the sandy ridge that was cut away when the road was created and there was plenty of vegetation in the way. I excitedly told Ron “Badger! Back up, back up!”, he couldn’t see it right then because of the vegetation.

American Badger profileAmerican Badger profile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

When we did back up to try to get a better view of the Badger we realized there was no way to avoid having some of the grass in front of the Badger. I really wish the one slender grass stalk didn’t go across the corner of the Badger’s face, nose and eye in this frame.

The Badger did stand up a little higher plus I raised the window up so I got a slightly better angle when I took this frame but there were still some grass stems in the way. Hopefully I will have many more opportunities with these handsome mammals where I won’t have obstructions in the way.

Curious American BadgerCurious American Badger – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

 Still; I was tickled to have this Badger within close range for a few moments before it went back down into its burrow.

I have learned that even when I have a great subject in front of me to always try to pay attention to what is outside my viewfinder and because I do I have seen and photographed some gems I might have missed if I only looked through my cameras viewfinder.

Mia

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