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  • Writer's pictureHarris Brooker

The Evenings are Getting Busier!

The Speyside Wildlife Evening Hide in the Cairngorms keeps getting busier with both people and mammals and continues to throw surprises to the guests! Our Speyside 24/7 holiday group came on Sunday with Sally Nowell and enjoyed both Badgers and a Pine Marten and with increased daylight hours there’s plants to show guests in the gardens and also birds - Robins, Chaffinches, Siskins and even a female Sparrowhawk have been in recently.

In an evening, the Badgers can be seen making their way along the path at the bottom of the hill, they squeeze through a hole in the fence and make their way along the little paths they’ve made, heading towards the hide. They feed peacefully with one another most of the time - though they can squabble. The sounds they make are like a Red Squirrel chattering, I have heard them growl too, sounding somewhat like a cat.

There is a Badger on its own looking to its left, head up surrounded by grass, spruce needles and sticks
Badger pausing from Foraging (Harris Brooker)

Strange things have been happening lately and the mammals are keeping me on my toes - one evening, not long after I’d baited the area, things happened in reverse! I remember seeing something on the 'Badger Trail' at the bottom of the hill and thought it was the cat that lives around the property, but it turned out to be a Pine Marten. In broad daylight this Pine Marten came to feed on the platform! Until that night I’d never seen the Pine Marten come before the Badgers.

There is a Pine Marten sat on a wooden platform with grass, moss and spruce needles with its tail draped over the edge, lying crouched looking to its left
Pine Marten sat on platform (Harris Brooker)

There were Badgers that evening too - feeding greedily as they do. But then a second Pine Marten appeared later that evening to feed on the platform. Then the evening capped off with some Wood Mice and a Bank Vole. The latter has proved interesting because I was unclear which species we had - I initially thought we had Short Tailed Vole or Field Vole but I have now confirmed that we do indeed have Bank Voles instead. The Bank Vole has a reddish tinge to its back, its smaller and neater than the Short Tailed Vole. Confusion resolved!

There is a Bank Vole looking straight ahead with its back to a Birch log with spruce twigs, needles and cones nearby with a Scot's Pine tree stump jutting out from the left
A feeding Bank Vole (Harris Brooker)

Many guests come to our hide specifically for a chance of a Pine Marten and as the nights get lighter, sightings should continue to increase. The female in particular should visit more often if she is either pregnant or already has kits born.

If you would like to book your place in the Evening Mammal Hide you can check availability and book online.

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