A four-legged (sharp toothed) vandal in the garden

Two days ago we noticed something with very sharp teeth had chewed the top and lid of our squirrel peanut feeder. We speculated that we either had a new (less clever) pine marten visiting or ‘our’ one had amnesia and had forgotten how to lift the lid for the box. The box had two large chunks bitten off and the lid was completely ripped off; the rubber hinge (bike inner tube) was torn off the screws that held it in place.

This evening we saw the culprit. This pine marten has a distinguishing white mark on the left of its nose (you can  see it in the short video below), which was not present on the pine marten we saw previously.

It started by going for the ‘bite chunks off the lid’ technique, but that didn’t work, so it attacked the back instead. No, that wasn’t working so it jumped around going for a different position for attack. The chrome washers are where we repaired the hinge that was ripped off two days earlier. Just before the pine marten arrived Neil had covered these washers with black tape so it would look better in photos. This tape lasted all of one hour! 🙂

Pine marten IMG_5542a

Pine marten Pine marten gets the nuts

The pine marten returns

Pine marten (Martes martes) feeding on peanuts

After our excitement at spotting a pine marten feeding in our garden two days ago, we were delighted to see it has returned. Again it was seen in full daylight – this time at 10am after people were up and moving about in the house only 5 metres from where it was feeding. After our initial sighting I put out a selection of raspberry jam sandwiches and roast ham. Something (badger, fox or pine marten?) took all of the scraps I threw in my usual spot under the hedge, but the scraps that I put on a board on top of the 1.5m high wood store were not taken.
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A new garden visitor

Yesterday morning I spied this pine marten (Martes martes) in our garden.

S/he enjoyed a snack of peanuts that were lying on the ground, from where I’d swept them from the squirrel nut box when I cleaned it out yesterday.

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Fossils, rocks and more

The falling tide reveals the inter-tidal zone

As a contrast to ‘heading for the hills’ in the wonderful sunny weather we had earlier this week we took a walk down to the beach . We headed to the Black Isle here on the east coast of northern Scotland. Close to the tip of this peninsula of land (no, it’s not an isle at all) is the village of Cromarty made famous by Hugh Milller, who lived here and who was one of the most important Scottish Geologists of the 19th Century.
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Garden visitors

I am sitting at my kitchen table enjoying my tea and toast and watching the best morning entertainment. Not on the telly, but outside the kitchen. The bird feeders are busy with chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, greenfinch, coal tit and siskens, while robins bob about on the ground underneath, chased by the greedy blackbird. As I watch there is a movement in the bushes behind the feeders and the birds take flight. But this is not an approaching predatory sparowhawk, but one of our regular visiting squirrels.

Red squirrel in our garden
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