Throughout the Cairngorms, we have passed by the tipping point of summer and have begun our march towards Autumn with the signs of colder months approaching beginning to appear amongst the green. The leaves are starting to yellow and drift slowly towards the forest floor. Birch leaves and Beech nuts have already begun to carpet the ground and the long wild grass has also come to fruition. Although there is an abundance of food at present, signs of the encroaching colder months serve as a reminder that things are about to get quite tough. Upon the Badger's arrival, a single-minded feeding frenzy seems to be their primary focus. The need to eat before the winter sets in is important as the more weight that they are able to gain, the more security they will have if the food runs low in the winter months.
Some tension has been rising between our two younger boars and the older members of the clan. As the two brothers approach their second year the question arises as to whether or not they will remain with the clan or move off to establish their own? Certainly, they will be compelled to travel further afield next summer when the territory lines are more relaxed in order to meet new females to mate with. But this can also be a tricky time for young male Badgers. Upon leaving their territory space they become much more vulnerable on the roads as the landscape around them becomes unfamiliar the further they stray from their known territory. There is no guarantee, however, that the youngsters will leave. If they are to unsuccessfully challenge the dominant Boar they may be moved on but otherwise, they can also quite happily slot themselves into the social pecking order and co-exist with the older and bigger boars.
We have also had some late appearances of Red Squirrel into the Hide. Coming in for a bite of apple we can admire their long straight ear tufts and incredibly bushy tail. When sat upright, their fluffy red tail curves neatly into their back. They are fast and graceful climbers that appear to cleverly plan their routes through the treetops in advance. As they travel they barely pause for deliberation and move endlessly through the trees. Later into the evenings, we can experience the quick surprise entrance of Bats into the area. Caught against the Hides lights they swoop through the area, twisting and turning like fighter jets as they chase one another to catch moths in the warm night air. Using a bat detector we were able to identify Pipistrelle as one of the visiting species.
Another transformation that is approaching in response to the changing season is the shift in the Pine Marten from their summer to winter coats. Through the summer we have enjoyed their exquisite chocolate sleek brown coat and clear pattered peachy/orange bibs and it will be interesting to observe them as they moult back towards their fluffy grey winter attire. The Pine Marten pelts in summer are so beautiful and rich, that historically in Croatia, they were used by medieval traders as units of value. And so, as their currency was developed it was named Kuna, the Croatian word for Pine Marten.
If you are interested in seeing these wonderful beasts in action please visit our website for further booking details!