Na­ture Nuts Bob meets the elu­sive pine marten

New ex­hi­bi­tion to show­case work cre­ated as part of Com­mon Ground project

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - WEEKEND TICKET -

A new ex­hi­bi­tion is to take place in Alyth and Blair­gowrie show­cas­ing the Com­mon Ground project, part of the wider Cat­eran’s Com­mon Wealth ini­tia­tive.

Perth and Kin­ross Her­itage Trust cre­ated new aerial pho­tographs of the Cat­eran Trail, and tex­tile artist Deirdre Nel­son ran an artist res­i­dency in the area over the spring and sum­mer with lo­cal pri­mary schools and com­mu­nity groups as part of the project.

This re­sulted in an ar­ray of tex­tiles in­spired by the pho­tographs.

New re­search in place names on the trail was also com­mis­sioned for the project.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, which opens at The Barony in Alyth on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 3, will fea­ture many ex­am­ples of the work cre­ated as part of the project.

And visi­tors to the ex­hi­bi­tion will also re­ceive an in­for­ma­tion book­let about the ini­tia­tive.

Fol­low­ing its stint at The Barony, the ex­hi­bi­tion will also be on dis­play at the Wellmeadow Cafe in Blair­gowrie for a week from Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 9.

The Barony is open 10am to 6pm, Tues­day to Satur­day, 10am to 4pm Sun­day. The Wellmeadow Cafe is open 9.30am to 3pm, Tues­day to Satur­day. Lo­cal na­ture nut and wildlife en­thu­si­ast Bob Smith has been out and about in the lo­cal area and is keen to share with Blairie read­ers some of his ex­pe­ri­ences.

In the lat­est in an oc­ca­sional se­ries ex­plor­ing lo­cal wildlife, this week Bob looks at the Euro­pean Pine Marten.

He says: “These an­i­mals are an ab­so­lute joy to watch, beau­ti­ful crea­tures with an in­no­cent baby-face that be­lies their preda­tory prow­ess.”

A mem­ber of the mustelid fam­ily, the same fam­ily as ot­ters, stoats, weasels and bad­gers, the colours can vary from light to very dark brown and they all have a creamy bib which usu­ally has freck­les that are in­di­vid­ual to each an­i­mal, mak­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion a lot eas­ier when watch­ing them.

The Euro­pean Pine Marten is also called the sweet marten, pre­sum­ably be­cause of its sweet tooth. The an­i­mal’s diet con­sists of a wide va­ri­ety of things - small birds and mam­mals, frogs and toads, eggs, car­rion and even berries.

The marten mates in Septem­ber and their young, kits, are born around March with lit­ters rang­ing in size from around one to five ba­bies. The kits gen­er­ally ap­pear around the mid­dle of June and by the time they are around six months old, they are to­tally in­de­pen­dent.

Pine martens are the only mem­ber of the mustelids that have semi-re­tractable claws.

Bob says: “As a fair bit of their prey is in the trees, the abil­ity to climb trees rapidly us­ing their claws is a huge ad­van­tage.

“As fleet as they are on the ground, they are pretty nifty in the canopies as well. I have wit­nessed them more than once chas­ing squir­rels along some branches - thank­fully the squir­rels evaded the marten on all those oc­ca­sions.

“I watch these an­i­mals from my hide and they are gen­er­ally night or late evening visi­tors, how­ever there have been more than a few vis­its from them on balmy sum­mer af­ter­noons. This was more than a pleas­ant sur­prise for me but I don’t think the red squir­rels ap­pre­ci­ated the early ap­pear­ance as much as I did.

“On one oc­ca­sion that I was at the hide, I was watch­ing a pair of red-legged par­tridge mop­ping up some of the bird seed from the ground. Sud­denly, the cock bird started an alarm call and a pine marten ap­peared.

“Far from be­ing fright­ened, both birds flew at the an­i­mal and un­be­liev­ably had the marten hid­ing un­der a few logs un­til they de­cided they had pushed their luck far enough.

“It was one sight­ing that I wasn’t ex­pect­ing but at the same time was ab­so­lutely won­der­ful to wit­ness.

“Hav­ing at least five martens visit­ing the hide ev­ery evening - al­though not al­ways at the same time - is a lovely ex­pe­ri­ence.

“To wit­ness these usu­ally elu­sive crea­tures only feet away from me is al­ways a thrill and to be hon­est a priv­i­lege.”

To wit­ness these usu­ally elu­sive crea­tures only feet away from me is al­ways a thrill

Preda­tory prow­ess pThe pine marten The

Skill Stitch­ing a piece of bunting printed with one of the aerial pho­tographs of the Cat­eran Trail

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.