Pine Marten – an elusive mammal

As an ecologist, one of the mammals that has always eluded me was the Pine marten. These are shy, elusive animals about the size of a small domestic cat. Yesterday evening, about 9pm, still bright as the sun was shining, I saw one. What is more, I saw it from my living room window! I was sitting watching a film and outside I noticed the birds (starlings and swallows, all presently feeding chicks) were alarming calling. I looked out and there it was standing on the log pile that rests against the side of the house. All I saw was it’s dark brown face and unmistakable creamy yellow throat patch and then it was gone.  We have often thought that they were around, having seen scats in the forest. The habitat is good for these beautiful mammals; a conifer plantation and newer broadleaf woodland provides plenty of cover and food. They are omnivores taking berries, fruits, small mammals, amphibians and birds. For a photograph and more information check out http://www.mammals-in-ireland.ie/species/pine-marten

I suppose the chances of seeing it again are pretty slim, though I have to admit I did think about it as I set out to do my butterfly monitoring transect late this afternoon. But no such luck. So instead I leave you with a photo of the Ringlet butterfly which along with a Speckled wood and a few Meadow browns were my only recordings!

 

Ringlet

Ringlet Butterfly

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