A week of beautiful weather has had everyone in the Cairngorms breathing a sigh of relief after a particularly tricky cold and wet start to the summer period. As the summer migrants begin to settle down into nesting activities, and many of our resident species already in the process of raising and feeding their new fledglings, frantic feeding activity can be witnessed at the hide. Much to the amusement of guests, after the bait has been placed out for the Badgers and Pine Martens there is often a flurry of activity as the birds descend to steal a nut or two. A male Blackbird has been arriving at the Pine Marten table and filling his beak full of sultanas before darting off. All can be forgiven as the process of feeding a nest of chicks is an energy-consuming and stressful task and so a little extra help can go a long way.
The warming weather has brought about an explosion of vegetation: the trees have unraveled their new leaves and the grasses and flowers have sprung up into life. With this transition has arrived the steady buzz and whirl of the insects as they move throughout the garden enjoying the nectar from the newly opened flowers. The bugs are back, and along with them an abundance of ticks as we move into their most active season. This has become apparent in the Badger’s activity within the hide as they will often stop urgently to itch and scratch away at themselves. This could be as a result of the booming populations of biting bugs such as ticks, lice, and fleas that may irritate their skin. The Badgers’ thick coats are very good at collecting and hosting these creatures and so a Badger must spend a lot of time grooming themselves and one another in order to manage the populations of these parasites. Although the Badgers can relax a little as the food availability increases over the summer period, the price that they pay for this abundance is the itch and scratch of the bugs that come along with it.
The Pine Martens have also been enjoying the beginnings of more abundantly available food. Now having fully moulted into their summer coat, when the Pine Martens arrive into the hide to feed they are often happy to leave a few peanuts and sultanas behind. This suggests that the individuals are finding it much more comfortable to acquire the food that they will need to meet their daily food intake.
If you are interested in visiting the Speyside Wildlife Hides then you can visit our website for more information on booking details.