Monday 7 September 2015

Another midnight visitor : Pine marten hunting

The gate into the hill park seems to be a major nocturnal route for wildlife.

Yesterday there was a little heap of pine marten scat on the track its easily identified at this time of year as its full of berries mainly Rowan and my raspberries.

This morning there was a whole series of images, the pine marten was footling about for quite a while until Mimi my hybrid wildcat showed up.

You would expect pine martens to live in trees, they don't, they make their home in abandoned buildings, cairns of rock and the lofts of holiday homes if there is even the smallest entry.

 Over the years I must have lost more than 30 hens to pine martens, always at night when there has been the slightest security lapse. Once inside the hen house they kill everything possibly because they are panicked by the even more panicked hens. The only solution is maximum security, no holes, electrically operated doors that close at dusk and my own form of biological control, having a pee beside the hen house, after dark of course. This technique was first demonstrated to me by an old Shepherd 50 years ago when he made a nightly round of the lambing pens to keep foxes away.

If you are here on holiday a trail camera in the garden of your cottage is a great way to watch wildlife and better for pine martens than feeding them jam sandwiches on the bird table.

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