• Harris Brooker

Here Comes July

At the Speyside Wildlife Evening Mammal Hide in the Cairngorms, the action has kept going. There are now eleven Badgers known to have visited the hide. They still come to feed, licking peanut butter off the logs and trees, pushing logs away to reveal the small stash of peanuts I’ve put there.

There are three Badgers feeding in this image. The one on the left is looking for food inside a birch log. The one on the right is licking peanut butter off of a Scot's Pine stump and there's another one behind it that is foraging in the leaf litter looking for peanuts. It has its back to the camera.
Badgers Feeding (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

It’s safe to say the cubs table manners are not quite up to standard. They’ve shoved some of the other adults out of the way and now and then they get quite cross with them. It’s curious to see how much they can get away with before being taken to task. One of the younger females has growled and snapped at the cubs, and when they growl, they growl not unlike a cat. I always wondered how many cubs a Badger group typically has, and the answer to that is that between two and three is the norm. Though they can have up to five.


When the cubs are small they’re only permitted to explore close to the sett, so therefore they are a little larger once we start seeing them at the hide. The adults would never take them to the hide at too young an age because it is too far. The cubs haven’t appeared every night yet, but when they do, it gives the guests a good comparison of age groups.


Some of the Badgers have changed colour in the time that I’ve known them. One of the more junior male’s fur has changed from sandy coloured to silver. Quite a transformation.


We’ve recently had new lights installed at the hide and their colour and brightness can be changed with a remote control. Usually we keep it on the white light and increase the brightness throughout the evening but the different options can be useful for photography.


Pine Marten visits have been less frequent lately. Though having said that, we did have three nights in a row of Pine Marten viewing! It showed off its acrobatics as it climbed along the logs and sat on the platform munching away at the sultanas as visitor’s cameras clicked away furiously. I say to visitors that later in the evening offers the best chance of sightings and that’s still the case - but occasionally it comes much earlier. One time it came before I even had a chance to put the food out and on the ground of all places, somewhere it doesn’t typically prefer to be.

There is a Pine Marten in this image sat on a platform looking towards the camera with its mouth open showing its teeth. There is a tree stump behind the Pine Marten.
Pine Marten Feeding on Platform (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

The Wood Mice and Bank Voles have also been active. As have Siskins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Blackbirds. Some people have also asked about bats and a visitor once came with a bat detector and identified the chattering calls of Common Pipistrelle and the thumping notes of Soprano Pipistrelle.


If you would like to attend our evening hide please go to: https://www.speysidewildlife.co.uk/Holidays.aspx?location=evening


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