Is it Winter or Spring? The weather has indeed been changeable in the past few weeks, with what’s called the ‘lambing snow’ hitting the area last week. This has, I am sure, caused some confusion amongst some animals as they prepare for the breeding season ahead. The clocks have ‘sprung’ forward, meaning another change in meeting time for guests but also dusk is longer with a lengthened chance to spot wildlife!
We talk a lot about the wildlife that visits the hide, once all guests are settled and the watch begins, but the time before this can have just as much activity. As guests arrive at the meeting point, Tawny Owls can often be heard (but rarely seen) in the nearby trees. The Woodcock almost like clockwork, can be heard Roding overhead often just their silhouette being seen. A surprise bird flying quietly over head last week was an Osprey! Personally, the first I had seen in the area this year, watching us intently as it glided away. You never know what wildlife may be spotted on the gentle ten-minute walk to the hide.
Though not predictable in their timing, the Badgers have been more active, with regular sightings of the ‘parents’ of the sett appearing and young from last year joining them. They often come in one or two at a time and the last two weeks have been meeting at the hide, with five in one night at the same time. One nervous male fed for five minutes one evening before a Tawny Owl swooped down beside it to catch a mouse, giving the Badger a scare.
Along with the similar faces (or bibs) from the past two months, there have been two new Pine Martens sighted, along with a lame male who didn’t stay around for food. Although records are being kept each night of sightings, it is hard to tell which Pine Martens are going to continue feeding at the hide. However, two Pine Martens came one night, one the female mother from last year, the other much smaller and jumping around using mum as a trampoline! Could it be an early kit this year? Only time will tell.
It’s all getting more active as the season picks up, with many visitors booked in and a good number of wildlife in the area. If you are up in the Cairngorms this Spring or summer, do check our website for Wildlife Hide availability.