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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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