We are now in the height of the summer holidays and the wildlife hide has been full of interesting behaviours and some stormy nights. Along with the very mild temperatures, the weather patterns have been unusual, with many thunderstorms. There has been some delay in the animals making an appearance, but this hasn’t put off sightings of the mammals.
The evenings are slowly drawing in, and with the cloudy skies at night, the Badgers have been appearing at the hide much earlier than a month ago. The Badger cub has been building on her confidence and often comes in before any of the others in the clan. About five Badgers are now coming and hoovering up the peanuts giving guests great prolonged sightings before they trot off with full tummies. The Scottish midges have been pestering them however and there has been lots of scratching and shaking, outside and inside the hide!
The Pine Martens are continuing to be active, with a male and female being the regular visitors. Generally, they have been coming in by themselves, but some interesting behaviour has been witnessed and heard over the weeks. When the female tried to join the male, he chased her off into the bushes and snarling noised were heard for about thirty minutes. The female returned with wounds on her neck. A week later the two joined again, but this time it was a more friendly meeting, with mating signs being displayed and they scent marked and tumbled around. June – August is the main mating season in the Highlands, so these behaviours are a great sign. Pine Martens generally mate from the age of three years and will give birth in the early Spring.
Along with the mammals, Tawny Owls having been actively calling and flying around and even a fly by of a Barn Owl one evening was a lovely surprise. Solitary Roe Deer have been heard ‘barking’ nearby and Red Deer walking up the hill behind the hide.