The Cairngorms is getting colder and at the wildlife hide the first of the snow arrived last week. The change in weather also means a shift in the activity levels of all mammals. They have stocked up on their food supplies for the cold weather, meaning they can spend the coldest evenings tucked up in their dens or setts.
The morning after a night of snow, it is a great time to get yourself out for a morning walk and look for signs of animals. From small bird tracks, to larger pheasant tracks, or tracks of mammals. You don’t always know what happens in your garden at night, but it is a nice surprise when you find mammal prints, like Pine Marten right outside your front door. You can follow them to see what activity they got up to whilst you were asleep.
November is a month when young from earlier this year are reaching their full growth. Badgers cubs will likely stay with their clan, but Pine Martens will now find their own winter territory, sometimes returning to mum for a visit. A lovely surprise this week was a young Pine Marten just as guests were about to head out the door. Not sure of its sex straight away we watched it feeding on the table, taking note of the bib markings for identification. Its small, fluffy and short tail appearance confirmed it was a youngster and when it started rolling on the ground after a lengthy feed, we could confirm it was a young male. A lovely sighting to have at this time of year!
Guests are also fascinated at the way that Badgers behave when they are in feeding at the hide and watching their habits. The most noticeable thing people notice is the way they eat. As well as being very noisy eaters, guests also point out on a weekly basis the fact they look like little ‘hoovers,’ the way they demolish the peanuts. Because of their lack of good eyesight they use their terrific sense of smell, moving their noses back and forth across the ground.
The mammals at our wildlife hide never fail to amaze us, and we are always learning more about their habits and ways of living. Check out our website and other blog posts to keep up to date with what we offer.