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  • Writer's pictureHarris Brooker

Summer Marches On

At the Speyside Wildlife Evening Hide in the Cairngorms, the action has kept going.

The male Pine Marten is still coming in. Sometimes quite late in the evening, but on one evening it came early - even before I’d put the food out! It was the first time I’d ever had that with the Pine Marten. Some guests who had come on a previous evening had budgeted two visits to the hide for their chance to see a Pine Marten. They’d never seen a Pine Marten before and to have it come in those circumstances must have exceeded their wildest dreams.

There is a Pine Marten in the middle of the picture with a tree stump in the background. The Pine Marten is looking to its left and is sat on a pile spruce needle leaf litter.
Pine Marten (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

There is a Pine Marten in this image with its head down facing to its right. It is lying on spruce needle leaf litter with a tree stump in the background.
Pine Marten Feeding (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

The Badgers are coming in every night to feed. What’s incredible, is the changes I've noticed in this Badger group. The alpha male, who had been absent for some time or if not, coming in very late, has been returning again. I suspected that this might be because he may have had babysitting duties, which have only recently been rotated around so that he can come to feed at an earlier time. Perhaps another one is doing the late shift.

There is a Badger in this image looking to its right with its head poised as if listening for danger. There are nettles and grass in the foreground and an area of spruce needle leaf litter in the background.
Badger Looking Attentive (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

The male with the scarred rump has undergone something of a status change. He’d earlier had his rump opened again, possibly in relation to some dispute. Whatever the nature of the dispute, he seems to have come out on top. The other Badgers seem to be treating him better than before. This Badger even sees off other that might try to take his food, which I’d never seen him do before. One of the young females engaged in allo-marking with him. Allo-marking is a behaviour commonly seen in Badgers - they use their subcaudal glands near their bottoms to spray an oily liquid onto one another. Smell is the way Badgers identify one another. Each Badger has its own scent, so updating this is important to them. Imagine what would happen if they stopped doing it? They might cease to recognise each other.

There is a Badger in this image looking almost straight ahead. It has a pale yellow tail and has its nose over a thick birch log that is on its side. There is another larger Scot's Pine stump in front of the Badger. There is a stick lying behind the Badger and an area of spruce needles and cones.
Badger Foraging (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

There were nine Badgers in this group, but recently a tenth one has appeared. I’d seen it turn up a few nights ago and until recently dismissed it as one that was already known but with new tail damage. This new, tenth individual is a very young animal. It has a smaller, fresher face than the others, with stripes that bulge at the bottom and has a tail that is bushy at the bottom and with a thin white damaged strip above.

This is the tenth Badger to be seen in this group and is very young. It has a short, fresh black and white face with silvery grey fur on its body. The Badger occupies the centre left of the image. In front of the Badger is an area of spruce needle leaf litter and behind the Badger is a wall of logs.
Young, tenth Badger (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)
In this image is the back and tail of the young, tenth Badger. The tail is frayed grey at the bottom and above, it's white and thin. This confirms it to be a new individual never before seen at the hide. Most of the back legs are visible and the lower part of the Badger's torso is also. Surrounding the back of the Badger is spruce needle leaf litter on the ground with some green plants and white lichens in the top left of the image and some spruce cones behind the Badger.
The tail of the young, tenth Badger showing its tail damage (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

It’s been coming in much later than the other Badgers and by itself. It’s not yet known whether this is a cub from our regular group or one that has wandered in from another. Though I would have thought it unlikely that a new cub would wander in without being accompanied by the adults.

There have been sightings of Wood Mice, Bank Voles, Roe Deer, Red Deer - those have occurred twice now, Siskins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers - including juveniles with their red caps, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Greenfinches, even Eurasian Woodcock has been seen flying over the car park uttering their thin wispy calls.

If you would like to attend our Evening Mammal Watching experience please click here for more information.

There is a Wood Mouse in the centre of the image looking slightly to its right with its tail spanning lengthwise to its right. To the right of the Wood Mouse part of a rock can be seen and the Wood Mouse is on spruce needle leaf litter with some sticks, green plants and spruce cones roundabout it.
Wood Mouse (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)
There is a Bank Vole in this image looking almost straight on but more towards its left. There are parts of a log behind the Bank Vole and to its right there is a pile of spruce cones and sticks.
Bank Vole (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)
There is a European robin sat on a tree stump with peanut butter in a hollow below it. The Robin is facing head on. Behind the Robin is a blurred background of green foliage.
European robin (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)
There is a male Eurasian Chaffinch in this image presented side on. It has a peanut in its bill. Surrounding the male Chaffinch is a floor of spruce needle leaf litter.
Male Eurasian chaffinch (Photo Credit: Harris Brooker)

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