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.


It's A Girl!

by admin - 23:19 on 16 June 2010

No martens were seen this morning, partly explained by my staying abed until after seven. It's amazing how disinclined to rise the prospect of a day at GNoME HQ makes a person. As usual, all food had been snarfled overnight, including the egg.

All that remained was one 3mm square of shell. If martens eat shell and all, my proposed hunt for evidence of a dining area may well be fruitless.

An illuminating email was received today from Alicia Leow-Dyke, head ranger and resident marten expert at Aigas Field Centre, near Beauly, which followed an appeal for information.

Marten 42

A Pine Marten will have grown to adult size within its first year, with the males growing to a third larger compared with the females. The males will also have a slightly broader head compared with the females.

Young Pine Martens usually emerge from their dens in June and will follow their mother around, although one of our rangers saw a young Pine Marten visiting our hide in May, which is quite early, but they may have bred earlier in the year. Usually the youngsters will actively explore their mother’s territory until August-October where they will start to disperse and find their own territory.
Bibs do not change and each Pine Marten will have its own distinctive pattern of brown patches, which can be used to identify individuals. In some the bib is very yellow whilst in others it can be a very pale cream/near white. The bib colour may also fade slightly just after a moult with the spring moult occurring in April and the winter moult occurring in September-October.

Marten 44

Fascinating stuff if you're a martoholic – and confirmation that our visitor at 9.30 tonight (hence the grainy high ISO snaps) was probably female, for she's smaller and has a more delicately shaped head than the more regular Nutella addict. She has a distinctive stripe on her bib while the likely male has a triangle of dots. Chances are they're siblings involved in the exploration mentioned above.

I could name them Stripe and Domino if I were in an anthropomorphising mood, but I'll settle for Master Marten and Miss Marten.

Matchgirl and I watched tonight with our usual interest. Spider watched with a fascination that kept her staring through the window for a while after Miss Marten had gone. Miss Marten, who saw us all, couldn't have cared less.

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