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  • Writer's pictureHarris Brooker

Let There Be Light

Updated: May 30, 2022

At the Speyside Wildlife Evening Hide in the Cairngorms our evenings are busier than ever. The hide is full on more days than I can count. The Badgers are coming in daylight, munching away at the peanuts and peanut butter laid out for them. They go about their business, unconcerned at anything. They might raise their heads to listen for another of their group approaching, but apart from that they don’t pause much from devouring everything they can.

Two Badgers are feeding side by side with their heads down. The one on the right has fur that sticks out more and is darker grey. The one on the left has flatter, lighter fur.
Two Badgers Feeding (Harris Brooker)

There are five Badgers in this image feeding together. Three are facing forwards, another in the middle is facing side on and another has its back to the camera. They are on a platform bordered by some logs with some smaller logs in which the food is. The ground is largely flat with pine cones and needles.
Five Badgers feeding next to each other (Harris Brooker)

There are still birds to see. Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Robins, Great Tits, Siskins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Woodpigeons - in their case we got to see an adult feeding an immature with some awkwardness. There was a Spotted Flycatcher, something I’d never seen come to the feeders. It didn’t feed on them exactly, it looked as though it might have been sallying forth to catch insects, as flycatchers do. There was also a male Blackcap one night, another first.

There are Wood Mice and Bank Voles to see. Scurrying furtively for peanuts they can grab to devour in the safety of their log crevices. They are very good at avoiding being eaten, I’ve only ever seen a Badger catch one once. The Wood Mouse in question had run across its path, unwisely. The Wood Mice and Bank Voles here are quite familiar with the risks they must take and they have well rehearsed escape responses.

The Pine Marten has been more sporadic in its visits. It’s been the male that’s been coming these past weeks. He likes to sit in his usual spot on the platform, munching away on the sultanas that are given to him and him only.

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