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  • Writer's pictureHarris Brooker

Evening Wildlife Watching Hide Update May 2024

Badgers


They regularly come in every night as the days continue to get longer. If any show up before 10pm it is usually just one individual and the Badger action tends to get going after 10pm with at least four Badgers present.


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

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

The Badgers are feeding peacefully together without squabbling. In fact, in all the evenings I’ve had this month, they have barely done so. The Badgers will have had their cubs just now, but they are still confined to the sett at this time and will likely be brought along by the end of June.



Pine Martens


We have had regular Pine Marten sightings this month, they are both close to fully developing their summer coats. One night went more strangely than the others though because the main mammals everybody wanted to see, didn’t come until virtually the end at nearly 11pm. At 10:56pm, just when I began to think they wouldn’t show up, the female Pine Marten descended the branch and nestled into the platform to dine on the bait laid out for it. Then she trundled along the log bridge and jumped down to the ground where she fed on the peanuts. This is a behaviour that both Pine Martens have been doing in the past month or so.


In this image there is a Pine Marten feeding on a platform with its tail draped over the side.
Pine Marten (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


In this image there is a Pine Marten feeding on a platform with its tail draped over the side.
Pine Marten (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

It’s even more impressive to see it with the female as when I first got to know the two Pine Martens, the female was the wariest and would flee when a Badger came along even if it was safe on the platform - now it couldn’t be more different. Then to everyone’s surprise, after she left, the male replaced her. At this time of year, when they have their summer coats on, they both look less bushy and without seeing the spot pattern unique to every individual they can look alike in terms of size.



Scottish Wildcat


There have been excellent sightings recently. One night while it was still light, one guest said “Do you have a cat here?”, to which I replied, “That’ll be it.” It was sat in the branches of the twin Lawson’s Cypresses that grow above the platform and the Scottish Wildcat was sat on a branch facing outwards, perhaps looking to catch a Woodpigeon.


Then to everyone’s amazement it descended, giving the most stunning views we’ve ever had at the hide. It was then seen hunting in the field in front of the hide on a grassy embankment looking for voles. After a while, it paused, looking at a patch in front of it and pounced. It lifted up a vole and ate it on the spot.


In this image there is a Scottish Wildcat sat on a wooden beam spanning two trunks.
Scottish Wildcat (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


In this image there is a Scottish Wildcat sat on a wooden beam spanning two trees.
Scottish Wildcat (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)


In this image there is a close up of a Scottish Wildcat between two tree trunks.
Scottish Wildcat (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

Two nights later it emerged from the left, stunning everyone. It sat there for a while, as if unsure what to do next. A Badger came from the left and it turned to face it, I had never seen a Badger and the Wildcat together. The Badger paused and the Wildcat turned towards it and expressed its displeasure with an arched bark. The cat then decided to leave, considering a potential fight not worth the hassle!



Other Wildlife


Red and Roe Deer continue to be seen in the field and there are plenty of Wood Mice and Bank Vole sighting. The clucking and drumming sounds of Common Snipe and the croaking, wispy calls of Woodcock continue to be a feature of the evening. Bats are now back and they flit through the air looking to catch insects and for the first time, we had a Brown Hare in the field.


Woodpigeons take every chance they get to eat the peanuts and there are frequent visits by Robins and Chaffinches. The wildlife is even in the car park, with occasional sightings of Common Buzzard soaring through the air, singing Willow Warblers and one time a guest found a Violet Ground Beetle on the tarmac.



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


You can read more about the Saving Wildcats project here https://savingwildcats.org.uk/

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