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  • Writer's pictureHarris Brooker

April 2024 Evening Mammal Hide Update

Badger Sightings

The cold period that kept the Badgers inside their setts has long since passed. There’s still eight of them and the dominant female is likely to be pregnant by now - within a few months they’ll hopefully bring their cubs along.


Lately they’ve been coming later in the night often not appearing in groups of more than two until 10pm.


One night one Badger had come in and was feeding round the opposite side of the Norway Spruce tree on the very left of the hide platform. A second one came in to join it, the two seemed to almost bump into each other, they just seemed to acknowledge each other and carry on feeding. It was raining that night and the guests had asked whether this put the animals off visiting, I told them that rain rarely does and that Badgers do in fact love the rain because that’s when the worms come out - that being their favourite prey! When they showed up, it showed the guests they had nothing to worry about and their night was just as memorable.


In this image there is a Badger feeding with a log behind it.
Badger (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


In this image there's three Badgers feeding amongst some logs.
Badgers (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


In this image there are two Badgers feeding together surrounded by logs on a large platform.
Badgers (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


Pine Marten Sightings

With the lighter nights it has been possible to watch the female Pine Marten descend from the treetops, silhouetted against the sky. One night both the male and female came together, the male fed on the ground and the female on the platform. It’s relatively uncommon to see them both together so that proved to be a massive highlight for the guests.


On a different night the female came again, much the same way she had on previous nights but one thing that made watching her more amusing for the guests was when she started ‘flossing’. This is a term I’ve coined to describe what the Pine Martens do whenever they get some food stuck in their teeth and use their paws to try and get it out. That caused the guests to laugh out loud. Every time the Pine Martens come in I’ve been careful to show the visitors the unique spot patterns to every individual. You have to be fast to see it, as it’s usually only visible when the Pine Marten lifts its head high to chew.



In this image there is a Pine Marten feeding on a platform.
Pine Marten (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


In this image there's a Pine Marten feeding on a platform with peanuts in front of it.
Pine Marten (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


In this image there is a Pine Marten feeding on a platform with branches in the background.
Pine Marten (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


Scottish Wildcat Sightings

One night, while it was still light we were lucky enough to see the Wildcat in the grassy field in front of the hide hunting, as it’s supposed to be doing. Wildcats are not creatures of pure woodland, but like open areas near to woodland. To see that it was hunting for mice and voles as it should do naturally was great to see.


Other nights that it has showed up, it has tended to do so very late in the night. Though sometimes it has come very early. One day I had it in broad daylight lying still, watching me. It was remarkable to see it up close without the need for torchlight. I had another night where it showed up just as the guests were arriving in the car park.


In this image there is a Scottish Wildcat looking right at the camera sandwiched between two concrete blocks.
Scottish Wildcat (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)



Other Wildlife at the Hide

Tawny Owls are still heard at night and Wood Mice are present and there are now small, greyish youngsters going about, taking care to avoid the Badgers. Bank Voles have been around too and are particularly fast at scurrying out from a particular tree stump close to the hide to get at the stash of peanuts I put under a particular log.


One night we had a Grey Heron fly over the flooded field and Greylag Geese have been heard honking overhead. Roe Deer have been seen in the field whilst it was relatively dark and its white rump was just about visible as it trotted along. Common Snipe are also being heard calling.


Another thing that has changed is that bats are starting to be seen. They never stay for any length of time, they just shoot in and then out as they hunt the moths that are attracted to the lights.



If you would like to book your chance to see our nocturnal visitors head over to: http://bit.ly/sw_EWW

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