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  • Writer's pictureHarris Brooker

Evening Wildlife Watching Hide Update June 2024

Badgers


The Badgers have been coming every night to date and the countdown is on for this year’s cubs to appear. Whether they’ll have one, two or three cubs is for the moment a matter of speculation.

In this image there is a Badger next to some logs.
Badger (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

Recently one night began with a female Badger appearing before I’d even put the food out and it wasn’t until about an hour later that she came back and a male came in afterwards. One female began to stare in a prolonged way at another that was entering, the growl she made was audible from the microphone inside the hide and we held our breaths thinking it would escalate. They allomarked each other then all of them ran off together - something they tend to do when a fight breaks out or there is a disturbance!

In this image there is a Badger licking peanut butter off a log.
Badger (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

On another night we saw a pattern that was in many ways typical, but I hadn’t registered it as so until then. The first female Badger came in, an outlier, that is, one individual that comes before the rest and sometimes has their fill before any others appear. However, on this occasion a male appeared and fed alongside her. She then went away and the male stayed and as the evening went on, another male appeared alongside him.


The guests got to appreciate the size difference between the males and females and then at least three more appeared before the evening came to a close. After a while, most Badgers have fed and will likely go off to feed on worms, which is their way of hydrating themselves, since most of their water comes from their diet. There are several paths carved through the Bilberry that they use to get around and after a while they’ll go back to their setts, sleep during the day, come out when it’s dark and do the same again.



Pine Martens


We had a week of near continuous sightings. Both Pine Martens have now got their chocolatey caramel colouration that makes up their lean summer coat, gone entirely is their winter bushiness. All the sightings from that week were from the female which I thought was interesting considering she would be due to have kits any time now. When she has young it’s not unusual for her to be absent for long periods. Then we had a few nights with no sightings. Then the male was seen one night approaching from the left on the ground, he stood up on his hind legs, surprising everyone with its bipedalism. Then it came to feed on the ground and on the platform before disappearing.


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


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

On another night the female returned after a long absence and started feeding. When she’d finished she squatted to urinate, marking the spot as her territory and climbed into the canopy.



Scottish Wildcat


The Scottish Wildcat has continued to be a feature. One night it chose to sneak past the Badgers while they were feeding whilst hugging the wall of the hide. On another night it appeared on the right and was first seen on the cameras. Others began to notice it too and it went under the platform, disappeared from view then reappeared at the far left of the hide.

I had my binoculars on the field ahead, expecting it to appear there as it had done before. But when it showed no sign of being there an instinct made me decide to check the garden. I went out and after a while I saw it there sat in a sphinx posture next to a set of stone pillars,

I was able to fetch everyone else and we all enjoyed prolonged views of it.


In this image there is a Scottish Wildcat peering above some grass and Daffodils.
Scottish Wildcat (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

In this image there is a Scottish Wildcat on a grassy path.
Scottish Wildcat (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


On another night whilst still light we came across it in one of its familiar hiding places. It took me by surprise because although it was a place I was used to seeing him, most of the time it would be gone by the time the guests got there. Not this time. After a while of sitting there he emerged into the open, went down the slope where we could see it next to the Badger Photography Hide. Then after a while it disappeared behind some vegetation and wasn’t seen again. This was all before we even got into the hide! That night there was also Badgers, a Pine Marten, a Bank Vole, Wood Mice and a Red Deer all seen on the same evening. An excellent evening for all!




Other Wildlife


Red Deer and Roe Deer still appear in the field below, now and then we’ve heard the Roe Deer barking. Wood Mice and Bank Voles still scurry around for peanuts. Woodcock still go roding overhead. There are bats that flutter around and even Common Swifts were seen one night flying through the canopy in the same place and manner as the bats.

In this image there is a female Red Deer in a grassy meadow.
Female Red Deer (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


We have had Woodpigeons feeding on the peanuts, Blackbirds, Robins, Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Great Spotted Woodpeckers all seen from the hide. The biggest surprise was seeing a pair of Mistle Thrushes in the trees, one of which looked like a young bird that hadn’t yet matured. In the gardens the Twinflower is now at its best and it’s something I enjoy showing the visitors just as we go inside the hide.


If you would like to attend our Evening Wildlife Watching Hide go to: http://bit.ly/sw_EWW to book your place.

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