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  • Wayne Gourlay

Shining a Light on November Nights

As we edge into November, the days are becoming shorter, and the nights are getting noticeably colder. However, the Evening Mammal Hide is just as busy as ever with regular visits from the Badgers, both male and female Pine Martens as well as Wood Mice. The Pine Marten is undoubtedly the star of the show at the hide, and we have been fortunate enough to have consistent visits from both individuals.

Male Pine Marten on the platform looking up
Male Pine Marten (Wayne Gourlay)

I can't help but mention one particularly special evening that will live long in my memory, as well as the guests who were there to experience it. It was a particularly cold evening considering it had been relatively mild for a few days beforehand, and I assume this sharp change in temperature played a part in the night's events. Within around 15 minutes of baiting the hide, we already had five Badgers busily foraging – they were soon joined by another, and then another when suddenly we had nine badgers at the hide at the same time!

All nine individuals stayed for around an hour before they slowly disappeared into the night. A few quiet minutes passed before a distinctive shape appeared in the trees above – Pine Marten! It was the female who characteristically ventured in cautiously, clearly wary of the scent left behind by the Badgers. As she was settling down on the platform, a lone badger ventured back into the hide – much to the dislike of the female Pine Marten. The Badger didn’t stay for long, and we were treated to around a half hour watching the Pine Marten before she slipped back into dark of the canopy.

A Female Pine Marten and one of the Badgers both looking up
"Did you hear that?" (Wayne Gourlay)

On another occasion, we had the privilege of viewing both Martens feeding together. It was the female who came in first and quickly settled on the feeding platform, she was soon joined by the larger and more confident male. Both individuals seemed rather uninterested in each other's presence and fed together on the same platform, before the male moved onto the second platform. The female then made the uncharacteristic move of coming down onto the floor of the hide where the badgers normally forage, without the badgers actually being there of course. It was fantastic to watch both individuals together and see the female show increased confidence by venturing onto the floor.

7 Badgers foraging at the hide. One individual is standing on its hind legs to reach some food
7 Badgers happily foraging (Wayne Gourlay)

The Badgers are always a joy to see, and they have been coming to the hide every night in numbers. It is always rather refined and civilised as the badgers slowly come into the hide and begin to forage, until one cub in particular comes in. I am yet to confirm whether the cub is male or female, but it comes into the hide seemingly at 100pmh and darts around very excitedly. This often results in a firm growl from one of the older badgers as the cub pushes into where they are feeding – it doesn’t slow it down however and it quickly moves on.

It has been a fantastic start to the month at the Evening Mammal Hide with lots of activity from both the Badgers and the Pine Martens.

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