Whether you were inclined to be glued to the TV this past weekend or whether you had a pressing engagement to empty your septic tank it would have been difficult to miss the media hype telling us that “love is all around us” or asking “can you feel the love?”

Indeed the answer to that question for anyone visiting our Evening Mammal hide this week would have to be a resounding “I do!” for there has been no shortage of ‘amour’ on our Evening Mammal Watch.

The week began with Badgers frolicking under a new moon (actually a bit more than frolicking if truth be told) with guests witnessing how Badger cubs are made and being reminded that actually Badgers have been known to mate in any month of the year, although Spring months are still preferred. Possessing the handy ability to delay implantation until December sows still tend to give birth in late January/early February, with cubs remaining underground until 8 weeks old and being fully weaned at 12 weeks. During this time the sow will often regurgitate food for her cubs, providing them with safe, smooth nutrition, served at body temperature – yum! The cubs tend to remain with mum until the Autumn when they become fully independent.

Young Badger (Jack Perks)
Young Badger (Jack Perks)

On the subject of Badger cubs, guests this week were treated to the first sighting this year of a cub visiting the hide and there was much love around for this little one. This youngster has been extremely busy being a small Badger – full of beans (not literally) and extremely active. He has also looked extremely dirty – reflecting the fact that once a few weeks old cubs spend their time exploring and familiarising themselves with the sett and it’s chambers, before building up the courage to come out and eventually forage for themselves, with mum never too far away.

A Tawny Owl flitting gracefully from tree to tree at dusk, a sleek and stunning Pine Marten feeding before returning to suckle her kits and a sleepy Woodcock, finished roding for the evening and now tucked up in it’s bracken bed – just a few of the things we have loved at the hide this week.

Woodcock (Jane Hope)
Woodcock (Jane Hope)

And for any royal honeymooners still looking for the ideal destination, we think you couldn’t do much better than come here to Speyside.  We think you’d really love it!

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