• Harris Brooker

The Nights are Getting Lighter

With the lighter evenings after the clocks have changed, our groups are meeting later at our Evening Mammal Hide in the Cairngorms, as we start to head into spring and then summer. In fact, the nights have been so light when guests have arrived recently that one of regular guests commented that she had never seen the fields out the back of the hide; she also commented that it was the first time she had ever seen me in daylight! But I guess that’s one of the funny effects of spring.

We were delighted to welcome Mike Dilger and his group from the Grant Arms again and they enjoyed six Badgers altogether, feeding quite happily together with no sign of a squabble. Although, I have noticed that one of the less dominant males with the scarred bottom had gained a new scar, which has healed up eventually - I don’t know what he did to deserve it.


A Badger feeding in woodland
One of our less dominant males (Harris Brooker)

Another Badger has taken to clambering about the logs at the edge of the platform and he nearly fell off making everybody’s hearts’ stop, but he managed to demonstrate how agile they can be and soon mastered his technique!

The practise of putting a small amount peanut butter on the post holding up the bird feeders seems to have been quite a success - it's a great way to see them demonstrating their height when on their back legs.


A Badger standing on it's back legs eating peanut butter
One of our Badgers climbing for bait showing how tall they can be (Harris Brooker)
5 Badgers feeding in woodland
Badgers feeding - this is what everyone likes to see and most of them do (Harris Brooker)

The Wood Mice have been active too, ever so bold in their attempts to grab peanuts, whizzing along like ninjas and then disappearing faster than you would have believed possible.


A Wood mouse on a rock
Wood Mouse (R Tyler)

The Pine Marten has visited regularly. The last individual to be present was the male, feeding on the sultanas I laid out for him. It has shown brilliantly, feeding on the sultanas and showed its agility to our guests. Not easily forgotten and undoubtedly the highlight of the evening and it showed earlier than expected. It’s the one everybody wants to see in an evening but not all get to.


A visiting university had two different trips to our hide and in each of them they got Badgers and Wood Mice but not Pine Martens. Annoyingly on the second night the Pine Marten female did come but almost straight after they'd left!


One particular Pine Marten has developed a 'visor' - a dark brown area on the face that seems to be the start of its summer moult.

A Pine Marten feeding
One of our female Pine Martens (Harris Brooker)


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