Happily Ever After

Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running

Earlier posts can be found on Adventures of a Lone Bass Player, where this blog began life. Recent entries can be found here.


Some Gory Treats

by admin - 20:53 on 13 June 2010

Inverness Airport – delayed departures, late arrivals and thronged with RockNess revellers – is not the place to be for someone who'd uncharacteristically over-indulged the night before, so Matchgirl was happy to return to The Rural Retreat after her week among the Vikings.

Bess was delighted to see her. She allowed herself to be petted for at least thirty seconds before asking for the door to be opened on to the solitude she prefers. Spider was much more welcoming.

I'm not firing on all six cylinders either, thanks to Spider's plea for food at 5am; I'd planned an early rise anyway in the hope of more pine marten snappery.

Marten 35

The food left on the gate last night had gone, although The Nutella Tree remained untouched, so I put out more marten treats and waited. Patience was rewarded just after 6am. Again the tree was ignored. This is most vexing for I'd like some decent snaps of Master Marten in a more wild environment, not perched on a man-made gate.

Marten 37

However, on this date last year I was a week away from capturing a pine marten on camera for the first time, and this year I've already got more than forty quality snaps in the collection, I can't complain too much, especially as four more were added this morning. There's plenty of time to catch him in the tree before the nights draw in again.

But a spot of proactivity won't hurt. So the daily egg was left at the base of the tree, not the gate, and the corpses of a blue tit and a sparrow discovered today in the garden were placed in forked branches as an added incentive to perform some photogenic climbing activity.

Yellowhammer 4

A yellowhammer who was more lucky than his colleague

The still-unneutered Romeo is the most likely assassin (Bess is too slow and Spider not allowed out unaccompanied) but, as ex-birds are a rarity in the garden, natural causes should also be considered – although discovery of a third corpse, of a yellowhammer, lengthened the odds somewhat. This was left on the gate.

Master Marten paid his evening call just after seven. Nutella is off the menu until the next Tesco run, but peanut butter proved a satisfactory substitute for the gourmand, who ate heartily until he discovered the deceased yellowhammer. That changed everything.

Tree Sparrow 10

Ditto this house sparrow

He sniffed it a couple of times, then with a speed that didn't allow me to fire a single shot he grabbed it, ran down the gate and disappeared, presumably to the site of his eggy stash. He didn't return, so at the time of writing The Nutella Tree groans beneath the weight of marten comestibles and his egg (free range – veggie Matchgirl insists) rests unfound on the ground.

This evening's snaps are still in the camera – something to explore tomorrow. A would-be wildlife snapper can have too much of a good thing.

Comment from James at 21:35 on 13 June 2010.
Hi Russell. The top (howling) marten shot is briliant, your best yet in my opinion.

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