Cairngorm Wildlife Diary for 2006

by Allan Bantick

Unless otherwise explained all the badger sightings mentioned here were made at the Strathspey Badger Hide. If you would like to go, click here to email me.

Enjoy the diary and please do get in touch if you have any comments to make.

You can click here to email Allan or Heather

or phone 01479 831768 or 07787 323264

or write to
Cairngorm Wildlife, 23 Craigie Avenue, Boat of Garten
Inverness-shire PH24 3BL Scotland


January 2006

Sun 1st Jan - Spent the day recovering from last night's party which went on till 4am.

Mon 2nd Jan
1930 Went to the badger hide with our new night-vision scope. Very good.
2000 A badger came out to see what I was doing. It ate lots of peanuts while I watched it through the new scope.

Tues 3rd Jan Tried to check a badger sett at Farr but could not find it. Found out later that I had been looking in the wrong place! Ooops.

Weds 4th Jan Took a young couple from Melbourne, Australia, to the badger hide (he an ex-pat Scot and she a local Melbourne lass). A super evening with two badgers and lots of stars on view.

Thurs 5th Jan
Put out posters for the upcoming Costa Rica talk
1500 We had had heard that one of the two missing dogs (a spaniel) had turned up at a cottage near the Boat of Garten golf course so I checked the badger setts on and near the course. The annex sett actually on the course is definitely inhabited, with fresh dung in its latrine. The main sett in the whin bushes opposite the cottage near the river where the spaniel was found is very active with fresh dung, bedding scattered at the sett entrances and at least two tunnels newly re-excavated. No sign of the dog that is still missing (a terrier).

Fri 6th Jan
1100 Began looking through the barn owl pellets that Paul Edwards brought us on 30th December. Found a water shrew skull and a brown rat skull in the second pellet.
1430 Met with Paul Edwards at Milton Loch to decide where to site the new goldeneye boxes. He showed us which box the local barn owl was using - source of the recent batch of owl pellets mentioned above.

Sun 8th Jan
1050 to 1400 Did the second phase of the Bird Atlas Pilot Survey in our allocated grid square near Beauly. This pilot is to establish the method by which the Bird Atlas will eventually be written. Our task was to wander through the different habits in the Tetrad for 3 hours and write down the birds that we saw in each of the nine 20-minute periods. Altogether we saw 3 coal tits, 7 blue tits, 6 great tits, 8 long-tailed tits, 16 blackbirds, 9 robins, 1 dunnock, 1 greenfinch, 4 house sparrows, 11 rooks, 4 hooded crows, 4 buzzards, 6 bullfinches, 2 collared doves, 62 chaffinches, 1 goldcrest, 2 mistle thrushes, a red kite and 30 starlings.

As well as the birds, we saw a red squirrel near where we parked the car at map ref NH 5148 4744 and pine marten droppings at NH 5086 4774. There were lots of red deer droppings in the pine woods.

In the evening Pam Baird from Grantown phoned to say that the new sett on Auchernack Farm near the Speyside Way is very active with fresh bedding in evidence and six tunnels.

Sat 14th Jan
1000 With the help of Alister Shewan of Carrbridge with his special double shovel we put up the first of the two goldeneye nest boxes at Milton Loch. The ground was very stony and it took more than an hour to dig a deep enough hole, so we decided to leave the second box till the next day.

Sun 15th Jan
Bea and I ventured out onto the marshy area at Milton Loch to dig the hole for the second goldeneye box, but the site was utterly unsuitable because as soon as the spade penetrated the layer of surface ice it was straight into two feet of water - it would never support a pole with a box on top. We wandered round the west side of the loch and selected another site in a clearing between some pine trees and the moor land fence. I will check with Paul Edwards if he is happy before erecting the box.

Mon 16th Jan
Collected dead wood from the forest, crumbled it up and began drying it out ready to go in nest boxes. Continued setting up and testing the remote camera system.

Tues 17th Jan
Did the Costa Rica lecture in the village hall. There was a good audience of more than 60 people.

Weds 18th Jan
0900 Ran to the grebe car park and back. 2 squirrels and 2 tree creepers were there.

Thurs 19th Jan
0900 Ran to grebe car park - topped up the feeders.
1800 CRAGG meeting at Glenmore Lodge

Fri 20th Jan
Experimented with the new automatic cameras.

Sat 21st Jan
1030 - 1430 Training Meeting with Scottish Badgers in Perth.

Sun 22nd Jan
1045 - 1355 Took a longish walk in the Docharn area.
1145 NH9252 2080 Fox droppings in the centre of the track
1148 NH9255 2089 pile of pine marten dung in the centre of the track beside what looks like a den cavity, with a small pathway leading to it from the main track. Above the den cavity is a rock-strewn slope that must contain many other possible dens. There were also many other pine marten droppings all along the tracks in this part of the forest. At one point the pine marten droppings were on top of horse droppings. I wonder if this was significant. We also kept coming across chewed pine cones so squirrels and pine martens must be rubbing along together OK. There were also a few more fox droppings at intervals along our route.
1223 NH9328 2120 male capercaillie flew out of a tree and described a semi-circle round us. It was so close even Bea saw it too. A little further along the track were fresh capercaillie droppings.
1225 NH9329 2115 a large pile of fox droppings on the track
1235 NH9392 2069 a pile of capercaillie dropping on top of a freshly felled tree stump.

Tues 24th Jan
10.00 Delivered 70 RSPB GBW leaflets to all houses in Kinchurdy Road
1925 Badger hide by myself. No badgers seen but heard a tawny owl and on the way back across the field saw a brown hare.

Weds 25th Jan
10.00 Delivered 112 RSPB GBW leaflets to all houses in Deshar Road from Craigie Avenue to the Boat Hotel
14.30 Delivered 78 RSPB GBW leaflets to all houses in Birch Grove
18.00 Meeting of the Highland Red Squirrel Group at Bidwells office at Culloden.

Thurs 26th Jan
1100 Put out new remote camera at Docharn
1200 Worked on John Muir Award maps
1430 Delivered 32 RSPB GBW leaflets along Spey Avenue and Drumuillie Road. Total delivered this week in the main village - 290. If we were to deliver leaflets to the outlying houses and farms as well we would need to print about 350, but 300 is enough for the main village.
16.00 Put out the old remote camera at the badger hide with no food to tempt them. This way we will get a more realistic idea of the time at which the badgers are active.
20.00 Worked on BoGWiG website.

Fri 27th Jan
Bea and I attended a seminar on responsible nature tourism at the Glencoe NTS Visitor Centre.

Sat 28th Jan
11.00 I went and filled another three nest boxes - boxes 1, 2 and 5. I found that box 2 was being used as a roost. Encouraging.

Sun 29th Jan
1100 Fixed up Dawn Smith's new squirrel feeder. She had a squirrel in her garden.
1200 Bea and I checked the camera at Docharn. Just a sheep on the card. The camera had not been triggered by the rain of the past 24 hours.There was fresh pine marten dung on the track as before.
1300 Checked the camera at the badger hide. There was a great spotted woodpecker there. The card was full and the batteries were flat so we took both home. On checking the card we discovered the flash was not working. However we could see the eyes of a badger on several shots so could say the earliest was just before six pm and the latest was just after six am which means badgers were active on and off all night. Rain had been the cause of most of the pictures.

Mon 30th Jan
0920 Got my top-up typhoid jab at Grantown in readiness for Borneo.
1015 Retrieved the old camera from the badger hide and replaced it with the second new one. There was a wren and a coal tit at the hide.
1500 Went to Castle Stuart to meet Charles Stuart and check his castle hedge and trees for badger damage. Was able to reassure him the damage was caused by rabbits.

Tues 31st Jan
1000 Phoned RSPB to try and get a member of their staff to come to our Nest Box Clinic on 17th Feb. They would try and come.
1100 Filled two more crestie boxes with wood.
1130 Saw two goldcrests at NH92411841 near crestie box 10
1145 Found a dead blue tit in box number 0613 at NH9315.1893
1400 Collected some more dead wood for the remaining nest boxes


February 2006

Weds 1st Feb
0815 Drove to Glen Elg in the hope of finding otters. Got there very late at 1215 having been held up by taking a wrong turn (idiot) and a long phone conversation with a lady from the press about badgers and the proposed housing developments to the east of Inverness. I sat for an hour at my usual hillock by the shore and saw a seal and several cormorants but not much else. I did not see any otters and I got quite cold so after an hour of that I went for a walk to Pylon beach. I managed to fall over and hurt my hand but recovered OK and cheered up no end when I found that the holt at the south end of Pylon Beach NG79682228 was very active with otter paths worn smooth with use and fresh spraint. Later I also found a new holt on the summit of the little island at NG79462182 which is just south of the hillock where I usually sit. It was low tide so I could easily walk to the island across the foreshore. Got home at 1745.

Thurs 2nd Feb
0930 Photo session near Inverness for a badger article to be in the Inverness Courier on Friday
1430 Collected the card from the remote camera at Docharn - just a sheep and a roe deer so far - I still have high hopes of pine marten sooner or later.
16.30 Replaced the new camera at the badger hide with the old one. The new camera had lots of pictures of badgers and a few of roe deer, plus lots of sheep. It appears the badgers came out even on the night when the temperature went down to minus 10C. Again, the badgers were active from about 1800 until after 0300.

Fri 3rd Feb
Collected my prescription for malaria tablets for Borneo.
Bea and I prepared for tomorrows fox survey phase 1.
Long article in Inverness Courier about development and badgers along the A96 near Inverness. My photo on the front page - what a poser!

Sat 4th Feb
1040 to 1540 Fox survey, phase 1 - Bea and I walked the square NH8606 at Dalnavert looking for and picking up fox scats and disposing of them later, but marking on the map where we found them. In three weeks time we will repeat the exercise, except that we will send the scats away for analysis, together with the maps and habitat data. From all this the experts will deduce the state of the fox population across the UK - our effort being one among many spread around the country. During the walk we found loads of pine marten droppings.

Sun 5th Feb
1030 Went to the badger hide and checked the remote camera. Lots of pictures taken but the sensor battery had died and triggered the camera repeatedly till the card was full - again. Must find a way of curing that. All the same, lots of badger pictures and a wood mouse. The badgers are coming out just before 1800 these days and then being active on and off all night till about 0530 or later. The tunnels have been freshly dug out and there is new bedding all over the place. Are we about to have cubs? I cleared out the blue tit box - it still contained last years nest and three dud eggs. A blue tit then came and scolded me and after I put the box back on its tree the bird went straight in! I felt such a heel having removed what was obviously its soft, comfortable winter roost. I daresay it will rebuild. I refilled and re-sited the bird feeder and also moved the remote camera to a tree nearer the sett - at the moment the flash on this old camera is not illuminating the badgers very well.

Topped up feeders at the grebe car park.
Went to the Docharn camera site but found the camera had not taken any pictures. I will leave it there for another week and if still no luck will move it to a different place in the same area - probably somewhere along a well-defined deer track.
Made some maps for our John Muir Report

Mon 6th Feb
Sent yesterdays blue tit nest to Glasgow University Nest Reference Collection.
1000 Took re-charged batteries to the badger hide and set up the camera again.
1100 Filled the last of the crested tit boxes with crumbled dead wood.
1200 Sat near the grebe car park. A crested tit came along and I got a few photos. Then a red squirrel arrived with a BROKEN LEG. I took some photos and then some video footage of the poor animal. It seemed to be coping quite well most of the time but whenever a complicated manoeuvre was required it nearly fell out of the tree. Nothing much we can do except make sure there is plenty of easy food for it (and other squirrels) to find.

Weds 8th Feb
1000 Checked the remote camera at Docharn - only one blank picture taken.
1100 Checked the remote camera t the badger hide - sixty pictures taken - all of badgers.
1500 Collected two goldeneye nest boxes from RSPB at Insh Marshes for use at the badger hide.

Thurs 9th Feb
Prepared more maps for our John Muir Award report.

Fri 10th Feb
0930 Checked Docharn camera - one picture taken at 0220 this morning - nothing to be seen in the picture. The egg I had left there was gone. Repositioned the camera on a known pine marten run on the opposite side of the forest track with some jam and peanut butter a few feet from the camera.
1130 Repaired one of the new goldeneye boxes and took it to the badger hide and fixed it to a tree on the upper sett. Removed the camera - the sensor's battery was dead again but there were 387 pictures on the card - one of sheep, one of a badger (2020 on 8th Feb) and the rest of falling snow! Brought the system home for modifications.

1300 Refurbished another goldeneye box and then made a new starling box. We are running a nest box clinic for the village next Friday so I'd better have few on hand to show people. I'll make a tit box, owl box and kestrel box too before the big day.

Sat 11th Feb
1030 SWT North Region Committee final meeting at Inverness. The committee will re-form in a network format over the coming months.
Bea spent the day working on our John Muir Award report. I helped a bit!

Sun 12th Feb
I made a new tit box and rebuilt the old remote camera system to reduce the field of view of the sensor.

Mon 13th Feb
0845 Refilled all the feeders at the grebe car park with apples, coconut, hazelnut and peanuts.
0900 Took the car to the garage and walked back via the Docharn remote camera. The pine martens still have not found the food and the camera just took shots of sheep.
1045 On the walk home I passed the grebe car park. There were two squirrels there - neither of which was the injured one I filmed last week.
1500 Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening building a tawny owl nest box.

Tues 14th Feb
1200 Collected a dead buzzard from the banks of the Spey at NH946194 below Drumillie and took it to SNH for analysis in case there was foul play. Reported to us by Sue Murray of Drumuillie.

Weds 15th Feb
Cut wood for a kestrel nest box
1800 Went to badger hide to take some video. Badger at 1820 and spasmodically for the next half hour. It seemed to disappear under the hide at one point. Remote camera was not working properly - a connection problem to the battery, it transpired.

Thurs 16th Feb
0745 Checked the Docharn camera. It had taken several pictures of sheep and one of a pine marten - 2253 last night. Replaced the card with a new one.
0945 Reinstalled the badger hide camera. On inspecting the hide I could see where the badgers had been getting under the hide - they have dug a groove under the edge of the hide.

Sat 18th Feb
1000 to 1630 Away - Day Meeting of the Council of the Scottish Wildlife Trust

Sun 19th Feb
0830 Checked the Docharn remote camera. Pictures of sheep, roe deer and pine marten on the card.
0930 Checked the badger hide camera. More than 500 pictures on the card - many of them caused by the rain of the past few days and some of sheep but most of badgers, including two pictures of badgers in daylight soon after 1700 and a sequence of several pictures of badgers mating.

Tues 21st Feb
0930 Cleaned seed feeder and bird bath. Replenished both.
1015 Replaced apples and hazelnuts at the grebe car park feeders.
1030 Checked nest boxes 0613,0612 and 0611.
1045 Corner post badger sett was freshly dug out with fox prints on the spoil heap. The latrine was full and some of the poo had grain in so the badgers must have been raiding the grain store or the feeders for the cattle.
On the way to Loch Roid there were cows in the field so we stayed close to the fence. At Loch Roid the badger sett was above the water level.
1110 In the nearby pond hollow the BBB NE sett was freshly dug out and there were capercaillie droppings and also two lots of fox dung there.
1130 We found pine marten dung on the indistinct track near the sharp angle in the track by box 0610 at NH 92361846.
1132 At the angle of the track at NH 92451843 we found capercaillie droppings.
1145 Halfway between box 0613 and the grebe car park feeders we found fox dung in a rabbit burrow at NH9317 1903.

Weds 22nd Feb
1000 Checked the Docharn Wood camera with the family. We met the local shepherd and his dog. We removed the camera and replaced it with a fresh one. When we got home we found the card had badgers on it instead of the expected pine marten. I do not know of a sett nearer than 1.5 kilometres so there may be one that I don't know about in this wood.

Thurs 23rd Feb
1715 Took the family to the badger hide. First badger at 1740 briefly, then a few glimpses until 1810 when a badger came and ate lots of peanuts. We managed to take some video footage using the light from a torch held by number two grandson Simon. Number three grandson Matthew made helpful remarks.

Fri 24th Feb
1000 Checked the camera in Docharn Wood. There was nothing on the card because I had forgotten to format it. Doh!
1200 Prepared another camera for use elsewhere.

Sat 25th Feb
I have just remembered that earlier this week a lady from the RSPB investigations office in Edinburgh phoned me to ask about the dead buzzard I had reported on my website on 14th Feb. She was not impressed that I had involved SNH rather than RSPB and she also thought I should not have reported the matter on my website. It's at times like this that the RSPB loses friends. I believe I acted perfectly correctly. In a case like this SNH is the statutory body - not the RSPB. Furthermore I shall publish what I choose on my website. So there!

1130 Bea and I started phase 2 of the fox scat survey (we did phase 1 on 4th Feb). The weather was a mixture of sleet and sunny periods - OK but only just. We found six fox scats in our allocated square at Dalnavert, mostly where we had found scats on the first phase. There wasalso one just outside the square by a bend in the river and there was a badger latrine in the same place. Soon after we left the river bend we found a dead coal tit at map ref NH86420682 - we assumed natural causes, although you never know these days. We finished at 1515.

1645 Took a remote camera to the badger hide and set it up, then waited until dusk in case it was possible to video a badger in daylight. No luck.

Sun 26th Feb
1000 to 1130 Filled feeders at grebe car park and stayed to video cresties, red squirrels and a tree creeper.
1645 to 1815 I went to the badger hide to video badgers. 3 badgers at one time, although too gloomy to get good movies. Took some nice stills with flash.

Mon 27th Feb
0930 Posted the fox scats from Saturday's survey to Bristol University
1000 Swapped cards at the Docharn Wood remote camera. When I got home and examined the card I found there had been several pictures taken of a badger. Inexplicably there was a fresh pine marten dropping right in front of the camera but no picture of a pine marten. I think this camera could do with being a bit more sensitive. It has an obligatory 30 second delay between pictures which is not always helpful and almost certainly caused us to miss the pine marten. I emailed the manufacturers and asked for their comments.
1200 I wrote a story for the John Muir Award website about pine martens and goldeneye ducks. A red squirrel visited the garden while I was doing so.

Tues 28th Feb
The snow started so I wrote the Country Diary article for the local paper. The only wildlife work possible was to keep the birds supplied with food

March 2006

Weds 1st Mar
Day out with the Tartan Army at Hampden Park. Now that's really wild!

Thurs 2nd Mar
More snow.

Fri 3rd March
0730 Set off in a blizzard to feed the squirrels and retrieve both remote cameras. The squirrels appear to have been staying in bed because there was still some apple left after several days - they usually demolish the apples in two days. I left them some new ones and some hazelnuts.
0800 Parked at Deshar school and braved the blizzard for the long walk uphill in deepish snow to retrieve the remote camera. It took more than an hour. The camera was completely buried in the snow so no pictures - but it was still working and flashed at me as soon as I rescued it from its snowy grave. I think it was pleased to see me.
0920 Drove to Kincardine and trudged through yet more deep snow to the badger hide. The camera there had taken a few badger pictures until the snow came and then none. I think the badgers must have stayed mostly underground although there was evidence in the snow of some movement between setts. For whatever reason the camera did not detect it.

Sat 4th Mar
1000 This was supposed to be Scottish Wildlife Trust Member Centres Day at Cramond but it was cancelled due to snow.

Sun 5th Mar
Travelled to London.

Mon 6th Mar
Bea and I had lunch with Sir Terry Wogan, Alan Dedicoat, John March, Lynne Bowles and Canon Roger Royle of BBC Radio 2 and some of our Toggy friends in the Langham Hotel opposite BBC Broadcasting House. This has nothing to do with wildlife but just thought I'd mention it.

Tues 7th Mar
Got home in the wee small hours in a blizzard. Spent most of the day recovering
2000 Barn owl near Deshar School as we drove to the gig.

Weds 8th Mar
1100 Replenished the feeders at the grebe car park then spent an hour getting video footage of red squirrels and birds using the feeders.


Fri 10th Mar
0900 Painted the latest batch of nest boxes
1000 Replaced the remote camera at the badger hide now that much of the snow had gone - put it lower down and aimed along the ground due to recent new information about the trigger beam. Two GS woodpeckers near the hide - hopefully a pair. I had heard one hammering on a tree long before I reached the hide. Several goldeneye ducks on the river - a mixture of males and females.
1100 Checked Milton Loch. The second goldeneye box has still not been put up - might have to do it myself. The bird hide is in good shape - clean and tidy and no graffiti. Looked for a suitable site for a remote camera but nothing really struck me.

Sat 11th Mar
Worked on editing movies for JMA report.
1730 - 1830 Went to badger hide. Got some nice video footage of a badger.

Sun 12th Mar
Finished video for JMA report.
1515 Replenished feeders at the grebe car park
1530 to 1730 Bea and I did an Ancient Tree Hunt in the local woods. We described and measured 13 old Scots Pines.

Mon 13th Mar
1100 In response to a phone call took one of the remote cameras to a house at Street of Kincardine. They reported an unknown animal visiting their garden and wrecking the bird feeder. It is probably a badger, judging from the space it has dug under the gate to get into the garden and from the trail it left in the snow but the paw prints were too melted and blurred to be certain so I set up the camera and we will find out next time it visits.
1130 Checked the camera at the badger hide while I was in that area. Only a few pictures on the card.

Tues 14th Mar
1100 Went to the badger hide again to take pictures for our JMA report. On the way home checked the camera I had put in Street of Kincardine the previous day. Something had triggered it at 0409 this morning but nothing could be seen in the picture.

Weds 15th Mar
Spent most of the morning preparing for the afternoon session.
1330 Ten BoGWiG members plus Anne Elliott of SNH assembled at our house for soup and rolls prior to the first habitat phase one training session.
1400 Anne gave us a briefing on how a phase one survey is carried out, what maps to use, how to mark the maps and advised in which publications would be useful to us and how to get them.
1500 Anne took us on a practical session in the area between Kinchurdy Road and the River Spey near the south end of the golf course. Among the points she made were:

Just as we finished, near the corner of a field, we found a badger latrine at roughly NH9399 1762 but this needs checking because it is not on the GPS where I thought I had stored it. Must have hit the wrong button again.

Bea thanked Anne Elliott on behalf of the group and we went our separate ways. Over the next few weeks Bea will lay some plans as to who will do which bits of the area.

Thurs 16th Mar
1730 I took two people to the badger hide. We saw one badger and watched it for about half on hour.

Fri 17th Mar
Worked on a video of the injured squirrel that I saw on 6th Feb.

Please Click on the picture to download the video
.... but beware - it's slightly upsetting

injured squirrel


1700 to 1830 Sat quietly at the Mullingarroch badger sett. No action at all. There is an active latrine nearby and the tunnel entrances show signs of regular use so it was disappointing.

Sat 18th Mar
1100 Spring meeting of the Highland Biological Recording Group. Special feature was a talk by Dr David Hetherington on the possibility of Lynx Reintroduction. Fascinating stuff.
1330 onwards - shopping in Inverness for kit for our upcoming Borneo trip.

Sun 19th Mar
Two black headed gulls turned up at the house this morning - the first this year. They are a day later than last year.
Paul Edwards phoned to say there was a red squirrel and a nest containing some small hairless young in a starling nest box at Milton Loch. Amazing - I'll get over there with my camera tomorrow.

Mon 20th Mar
Replaced cards in the remote cameras at the hide and at Christine's house in Street of Kincardine.
1745 Sat by the squirrel box/starling box at Milton Loch for an hour. Nothing seen, but here is a picture of the box with twigs sticking out of the hole


Tues 21st Mar
Finished an article and photos for the Country Diary for the local paper.
Spoke to Paul Ramsay and Simon Milne about their meeting with SNH regarding the launch of the consultation for a Species Framework for Scotland. It could be really good news for the beaver reintroduction. Wrote an item on the subject for the ScottiSh Beavers website.

Weds 22nd Mar
Scottish Wildlife Trust Council Meeting in Edinburgh. Got home in a blizzard.
This was the first official evening at the badger hide. Mountview Birdwatching took a group there and they had three badgers in the snow.

Thurs 23rd Mar
1100 Went to the badger hide to set up a few more things for the new season. Swept the hide out and labelled the new lighting system. Put up the second goldeneye nesting box. I will retype some of the old notices to freshen things up - some of them are looking a bit tatty.
Removed the remote camera to let it dry out and warm up for a day or two.
Also removed the remote camera from Street of Kincardine.
1245 On the way home saw a hooded crow at Mullingaroch

1300 Downloaded the photos from both cameras and put all the batteries on charge. Some nice badger shots at the hide but not much at Street of Kincardine other than rabbits.

1430 Bea and I went to Milton Loch where we put a new log book in the bird hide and then went to view the starling box with a squirrel in it. There were even more twigs sticking out of the hole than the last time I was there so mum had been busy improving her nest.

1500 Bea and I then walked the local river bank. We found what we took to be goose droppings in several places along the bank. There was an otter spraint at NH94631873. It was not particularly fresh but still had that unmistakable smell. There was a buzzard in a tree at the same place. There seemed to be more than the usual number of mole hills along the edge of the field by the river. We found another otter spraint on a rock in the shallows at NH8473 1843. A little further upstream there was a group of goldeneye ducks on the river - at least four males and three females. A little further along at NH 94671824 was a pair of dippers which we watched for some time and tried to take some video but they were too far away. One was hunting while the other preened itself. The badger sett nearby had two tunnels, both very recently re-excavated, and a busy latrine. The sett is very close to what we think is an old larch tree. On the way back we saw the dippers had moved to the near bank so we managed to get some really nice video clips. We picked up some dead birch branches to add to the log pile in the Community Garden. At home we sorted out the pictures.

Fri 24th Mar
0900 Built a new squirrel feeder for Milton Loch.
1100 Typed and laminated some new notices for the badger hide.
1500 Went to the badger hide, fixed up the new notices.
1900 Worked on our John Muir project.

Sat 25th Mar
1000 to 1500 Scottish Badgers quarterly meeting in Perth. Very good meeting.
1800 Put some of our wildlife footage onto DVD.
2100 Helped Bea with our JMA report.

Sun 26th Mar
Built two crestie nest boxes for a friend.

Mon 27th Mar
0750 to 0930 Went to Milton Loch to try and film the squirrel at the starling box. No luck. A lady passing by said she had just seen what she thought was a jackdaw going into one of the new goldeneye boxes. Pity.
1000 Updated the Highland Badger website and emailed all the Highland Badger Network members.

Weds 29th Mar
Topped up all the bird feeders and squirrel feeders at home and at the grebe car park. Started building a squirrel feeder.

Thurs 30th Mar
Took Derek McGinn to the grebe car park. Finished the squirrel feeder.
Made a capercaillie sightings map of Craigie Wood for our JMA report
1800 CRAGG meeting at Glenmore Lodge
2100 Worked on recordings for our JMA DVD.


April 2006

Sat 1st April
Erected five nest boxes and a squirrel feeder in Terry Sayer's garden in Nethy Bridge
Spent most of the rest of the weekend playing golf.

Sun 2nd April
1430 Fox Scats on 8th fairway at Abernethy Golf Club

Mon 3rd April
1615 - 1755 Nest box check. Hail, the snow, then sleet.
1627 0601 Box has been half emptied. There were wood chips from box lying at the foot of the tree.
1635 0602 Not much material removed but there were droppings and some dark feathers in the box.
1642 0603 No action
1648 0604 No action
1655 0605 No action
1701 0606 No action
1707 0607 Possibly a little material had been removed
1714 0608 No action
1720 0609 No action
1725 0610 No action
1731 0611 Half of the wood had been removed from the box
1737 0612 One third of the wood had been removed and there was a piece of nesting material in the box
1745 0613 One third of the material had gone
1742 Badger latrine at NH93051889 had a small amount of dung in it. This latrine was quite regularly used either last year or the year before - will check the database for details.
1746 Feeders at the grebe car park were well down. I only re-filled them a few days ago so the birds and squirrels must be struggling to find their normal foods.

Tues 4th April
0915 to 1330 Long walk in the Boat/Docharn area - 12km (7.5 miles) and about 300m (1000ft) of climbing. Beautiful sunny day but some snowfall from the trees at times. Some snow underfoot and in deep undergrowth my feet got a bit wet with snow going down the top of my boots.
0925 Filled up all the feeders at the grebe car park.
1000 Above Docharn farmhouse the track was a mess due to forest operations.
Target note for the biodiversity audit - there are cliffs above the track at NH-9328-2134 with inviting-looking cracks and tunnels for wildcat and pine marten dens. The cliff runs for about 300 metres parallel to the track.
1045 Male Capercaillie flew out of a tree at NH-N9355-2118, not far from the summit of the hill.
1101 Found the trig point after a bit of a struggle - I might not have found it at all without the GPS. It is at NH-9378-2138. The whole of the summit area is a series of rocky knolls, many of which had cracks and tunnels that would be good den sites.
By this time I had seen two roe deer, deer beds, the caper and fox tracks in the snow.
The walk from the trig point down to Balnafoich sett was quite awkward over deep undergrowth and through dense trees among lots of rocky outcrops. It dawned on me that all this rock is probably the reason why this family of badgers has dug its setts in the bottom of a hollow rather than on the slopes - I reckon the rock is too close to the surface for the badgers to burrow deep enough so they have had to settle for muddy hollow - probably the only place where soil has been washed down and built to a good enough depth for a sett.
1145 Balnafoich sett. There was a roe deer near the sett. I found three active latrines and a total of more than 30 active tunnel entrances so obviously this family are doing fine.
1200 Left the area.
1245 Found some pine marten droppings at NH-9471-2127 and again on a forest track at NH-9437-2055.
1300 Lots of otter spraint on a rock beside the sluice handle at Milton Loch at NH-9450-1946. Not totally fresh but not old either.

Weds 5th Apr
0908 Set off for a walk - 10.3km (6.43 miles) taking a little over 3 hours. I walked from Boat, down to the river, along to Dalvoult, then to the Kinchurdy badger setts, then across the fields to the river at Kinchurdy Island and home via The Yard and Fairy Hill.
0934 Found a very fresh otter spraint at NH-9461-1887 just 150 metres upstream from the Boat bridge.
0940 Found trees with blaze marks on the trunks at NH-9469-1823. These marks had been reported by someone last week. There were three or four groups of trees with marks and it became clear that they all had problems. Some were dead, some had rather dodgy-looking branches overhanging the path and some looked in danger of falling in the river. I think whoever marked the trees intends to fell them for reasons of safety and general husbandry. There were probably less than thirty trees involved so it will make little difference to the general look of the bank.
0950 Located the badger latrine that we found during the biodiversity audit training session and got a decent map reference for it - NH-9387-1758.
1010 Kinchurdy Sett 1 - many of the tunnels looked unused, but there was a latrine.
1020 Kinchurdy Sett 2. - still only a few holes in use but some bedding found and two busy latrines. It is characteristic of this place that the badger setts are spread over a large area - many of the most well used tunnels being single holes. They must be an unsociable lot.
1103 NH-9363-1604 otter spraint on a large rock in the middle of the river between Kinchurdy Island and the west bank.

Thurs 6th Apr
1330 Checked the badger hide. One of the goldeneye duck nest boxes had eight eggs in it. The other one and the tit box were both empty.
1500 Updated Highland Badger Network membership records. Emailed them all on the issue of the security of badger sett records - how should they be kept and who should have access to them .
1730 Updated the website diary.

Fri 7th Apr Refilled all garden birds feeders and cleaned the bird baths. Bea noticed that we had two different sorts of pied wagtails in the garden so she got the books out and discovered that the one with black upper parts is one of our own British birds but the one with grey upper parts is a European migrant.

Sat 8th Apr 1500 Bea and I did the goldeneye count at the badger hide. One male and one brown-head seen.

Sun 9th April Left for Borneo.

Sat 15th April Badger RTA on the A9 NH77026-96526 Loch Fleet, Sutherland - adult female.

Sun 16th April Badger RTA A96, Allanfearn, Balloch, Inverness-shire NH71620-47758.

Sun 30th April Got home after three weeks in Borneo.


May 2006

Mon 1st May 2030 to 2130 to badger hide on my own. Both Goldeneye boxes had eggs in and the tit box had a new nest but no eggs yet. One badger 2045 till I left - it ignored me when I locked up and walked away.

Tues 2nd May 0900 phoned the police Wildlife Crime Officer (WCO) about a local badger sett that had been interferred with and we arranged to go to the sett on Wednesday.
0930 watched a jackdaw plucking hair from a horse's back at Nethy Bridge.
1550 to1715 checked nest boxes in Craigie Woods. Details:
Box 1 1601 Complete nest but no eggs
Box 2 No change - has been used as a roost
Box 3 1612 Nothing
Box 4 1619 Nothing
Box 5 1625 Nothing
Box 6 1630 Nothing
Box 7 1636 Nothing
Box 8 1640 Nothing
Box 9 1645 Nothing
Box 10 1650 Nothing
Box 11 1656 Complete nest but no eggs
Box 12 1701 Half empty but no nest
Box 13 1706 Complete nest but no eggs.

Weds 3rd May 06
The police WCO arrived and we drove to the badger sett that had been interferred with. It's best I don't say too much at this stage because the case is continuing.

1500 Bea and I checked the two goldeneye boxes at Milton Loch - neither had eggs in but the first one we erected, near the power lines, had sheep's wool in it which would seem to confirm what a lady dog-walker had told me, that she had seen jackdaws going into it.

2030 to 2225 Badger hide with two people. Two badgers seen. There was a female goldeneye duck sitting on the eggs in the smaller of the two boxes.

Thurs 4th May 1500 to 1630 walked around part of an estate near Fortrose with the owner Mary Galloway and her husband, looking for badger signs. We found what was probably once a badger sett on a slope by a stream at NH7249-5800. On the way home I called in on Iona Henderson at the Munlochy Animal Aid Centre to enquire after her injured badger. She did not know exactly where it was found and without that information could not release it to best effect, so she had contacted the TV and newspapers who kindly sent out an appeal for whoever found the animal to get in touch. Iona told me the appeal was successful and the finders came forward so the badger was at last released exactly where it had come from - that is, in its own territory.

Fri 5th May Revisited the damaged badger sett referred to above with the police.

1800 Report from a lady in Kiltarlity of 2 dead badgers on the A833 at NH5138-4156. One badger was very small, possibly a cub, and the other was an adult of unknown sex.

2035 to 2130 at the badger hide with two people. 2 badgers in broad daylight - a super evening.

Sat 6th May. 0800 to 0945 selective nest box check of boxes 1, 2, 3, 11, 12 and 13 in Craigie Wood. 5 crested tit eggs in box 11 (I saw the crestie leave the box as I approached) but no change at the others. Fresh badger dung in two latrines on the secret path NH 9305-1889. A rabbit warren between the secret path and the fence junction at NH9295-1888 has been expanded by, presumably, a badger. I found pine marten droppings on the main path at NH9343-1865 which is about 100m north east from the triangle junction.

Sun 7th May
1500 Jack McCool the golf club treasurer noticed there were three curlew eggs in a nest in a patch of heather between the 8th and 9th fairways at Abernethy Golf Club.
2030 to 2230 to badger hide with 5 people. Saw 3 badgers, 4 roe deer, a wood mouse, 2 oystercatchers and a tawny owl.

Mon 8th May 1030 to 1230 at Loch Insh watching the ospreys. 2 opsreys at the nest behaving as if they had eggs. One osprey had a fish and spent most of the time eating it. The other was more interested in tending the nest and sitting in it.

1830 to 2030 I sat by the River Spey near West Dalvoult. I saw lots of ducks, a leaping salmon and an osprey.

Tues 9th May Jack McCool noticed there were now four curlew eggs in the nest between the 8th and 9th fairways at Abernethy Golf Club

2100 The RSPB vols watched a pine marten at the pine marten nest box at the badger hide, as well as the badgers.

Weds 10th May 0930 Filled up all the feeders at the grebe car park. Checked nest box 0613 - still just a nest without eggs in the box.

1015 Visited the badger hide and read in the log book about last night's pine marten. Took the lock off the door for Heather's group tonight. Checked both goldeneye boxes. The upper one had only two-and-a-half eggs in it - no doubt the work of the pine marten. The lower box still had a duck sitting in it. The tit box still only has an empty nest. The pine marten nest box has dung all over its roof so we almost certainly now have a pine marten in residence. I fixed up an automatic camera at the lower goldeneye box to try and photograph the bird entering or leaving, or perhaps the pine marten raiding the box. I stayed for another hour to try and video some goldeneye ducks on the river. Got several clips but the quality is dubious.

2030 Bea took a group to the badger hide. They saw at least 3 badgers (possible as many as 6). They also saw something run along a path near the hide and it might have been the pine marten that has taken up residence in the nest box on the hill.

Thurs 11th May Received a phone call in the afternoon to say that I am not required in court after all as a witness to a case of interference with a badger sett near Inverness because the accused has pleaded guilty. It will be interesting to see what sentence he gets.

200 to 2145 I sat near the pine marten nest box in the hope of videoing the pine marten but no luck. I did however get two short clips of a badger collecting bedding.

Fri 12th May As mentioned above, I was supposed to go to court today but the guy pleaded guilty. When someone does that you have to suspect that deals have been done behind the scenes, and sure enough he was found guilty and fined a measly £200. This man, Steven Murray, had used a mechanical digger to fill in the sett, prior to which he, or someone else, had soaked a bedspread in diesel oil, or something similar, set fire to it and stuffed it down one of the badger tunnels. In my opinion he should be behind bars. This kind of stupid sentencing sends entirely the wrong message and defeats the object of having animal protection laws because a fine of just £200 is no deterrent at all.

2030 to 2215 I took six people to the badger hide. We had 2 badgers and they came quite close to the hide for a time. The pine marten did not put in an appearance but I placed some pieces of apple and an egg on a shelf on a tree near the badger hide to encourage the animal to stick around. I peeped into the lower goldeneye box to find the female still calmly sitting on her eggs. Just before dusk we saw three roe deer - two in a field and one among birches.

Sat 13th May Meeting of the Scottish Wildlife Trust North Forum in Inverness.
2030 to 2130 Bea and I to the badger hide. We saw 2 badgers, but more importantly we discovered that the box in which the goldeneye duck only yesterday had been sitting on eggs now contained only one egg. We checked the remote camera that had been trained on the box and discovered that the pine marten had removed some of the eggs on the evening of Thurs 11th and returned on Fri 12th to just about finished the job. No doubt the final egg would be removed later tonight.

Pine Marten Carrying A Goldeneye Duck Egg on 12th May 06

Sun 14th May 1100 Bea topped up the feeders at the grebe car park and collected a bag full of rubbish from around the car park
1500 Bea and I checked 7 of the 13 nest boxes in Craigie wood. Box 13 had 7 very small eggs (possibly tree creeper), Box 11 had the same five crested tit eggs as on the last visit and box 1 had at least four eggs, probably crested tit, but we'll see. Next step is to sit near the nests and positively identify the birds.
2045 to the badger hide with 2 guests. At least 2 badgers. I reinstalled the remote camera and it flashed twice while we were there - we'll see in a couple of days time what triggered it. One of the pieces of apple on the pine marten shelf was gone and the egg had been opened but not eaten. Both goldeneye boxes only had one egg in plus a few fragments of shell.

Mon 15th May
Sat with the video camera at Box 13 to see which birds had laid the seven small eggs. It was blue tits. Eventually a blue tit flew in, then out of the box so I opened the lid to see if there were any more eggs but there was another blue tit actually sitting so I got out of there. There was also a crest5ed tit alarm calling at me so perhaps it has a nest somewhere near too.
I then went to Box 1 for the same purpose but after half an hour the rain started so I peeped into the box to find five eggs - one more than last time but no sitting bird. I think the eggs are crested tit but we'll see.

Tues 16th May
1100 The curlew nest at Abernethy Golf Club still had four eggs in it.

1545 Went back to nest box 1 and sat for more than an hour but no bird to be seen. I peeped into the box again and there were six eggs - one more than yesterday.

Weds 17th May
1500 went to the badger hide to check the camera - nothing much of note on the card. Still no eggs in the tit box, but a pair of dippers were feeding young at the island in the river. Got some bits of video. There was a roe deer in the field.

Thurs 18th May
0510 to 0655 at the lek in Craigie Woods. No capers seen, just a red squirrel and a roe deer buck. On the way home checked box 11 - just the five eggs and no sign of the bird so it does not look good. There was a new latrine by the path between box 11 and box 12. Box 13 had a blue tit sitting on eggs and a crestie yelling at me again is if it was her nest. I looked around to see if she had a nest of her own somewhere near but the moment I left the immediate vicinity of the blue tits' box the crestie went quiet and then started up again when I came back. Most odd.

Sat 20th May Went to Crammond, Edinburgh, for the SWT Members Centre Day.

Mon 22nd May
I spent most of the day rebuilding the beavers reintroduction website.
After lunch I picked up a racing pigeon which was crawling about on the pavement. I guessed it was just tired but checked it for broken bones just in case. It seemed OK so I put it in a box with food and water and left it to recover with the intention of seeing if it wanted to continue its journey next day.
I took a break in the afternoon to check the camera at the badger hide. The goldeneye duck had been back and looked into her empty box - very sad. All the food was gone from the pine marten shelf but the only picture we got was of a hen pheasant. The tit box still only has the beginnings of a nest. Later went to Milton Loch Bird Hide. The furniture there is still broken so I brought one of the benches home for repair.

Tues 23rd May
Got a copy of any email from Ian Hutchinson with details of a badger sett found by Ron McLaughlin to the west of Inverness. It was a large main sett with 11 used entrances and 24 unused.

Weds 25th May
Spent the morning repairing the broken benches from Milton Bird Hide.
1500 Bea and I and Mary Clark began the phase 1 survey of the Boat of Garten area. We began with map number one (makes sense so far) which is the Docharn Wood area.
1900 Bea and I and Sue Murray surveyed the fields and patches of wood just east of the Boat of Garten bridge.
2030 to 2305 I took four people to the badger hide. Not a great night but we had a brief view of 3 badgers plus 5 roe deer, 2 goldeneye ducks and a great spotted woodpecker.

Thurs 25th May
1200 Returned the second repaired bench to the Milton hide, removed the lock from the door, took it home and repaired it and then took it back and fitted it. Let us hope the vandals do not return. While I was there I noticed that blue tits were busy around the tit box just in front to the hide. One youngster was begging for food on a branch and the parents were taking food into the nest box so I guess some of the chicks had fledged and some had not.
1500 to1700 Checked the nest boxes in Craigie Wood. First of all I topped up the apples and hazelnuts at the grebe car park - and found that one of the peanut feeders was broken.
1520 Box 13 had a blue tit sitting and another adult flitting around alarm calling.
1525 The badger latrine near Box 13 had fresh dung.
1530 Box 11 had crested tit chicks in it. I did not count them, being too keen to get away from there quickly and watch from a distance to confirm the species. Sure enough, after a few minutes a crested tit brought food to the nest.
1700 Box 1 had a blue tit sitting.
All the other ten boxes were unused. With all the bad weather in April and May this is not going to be a good year for small birds in this forest.

Fri 26th May 1000 checked box 11 again from a distance with binoculars. Observed a crestie taking food in and sacs out of the box - I only stayed for ten minutes. Looking good.
On the way home I collected the broken feeder from the grebe car park.

Mon 29th May
Met with Dr Jane Mulcock from the University of Western Australia in Edinburgh to discuss her project on native, feral and heritage wildlife in Ireland and the UK - a comparative pilot study of cultural values and practices. We spoke at length about the proposed beaver reintroduction and discussed the reasons why the bid for a pilot reintroduction was twice turned down and what the prospects are for the future. We talked about public attitudes to wildlife and to wildlife watching and how land managers (farmers, estate owners) felt about wildlife, particular predators. As well as beavers we talked about the badger, pine marten and goldeneye duck and ethical considerations when there were clashes of priority, for example when the presence of one compromised the success of the other. The two hours we spent together were nowhere near enough and I delayed my departure as long as I could and then had to run to catch my train - perhaps we could meet again when she came to Strathspey later in the week.

2050 to 2230 I took a group of two adults and 2 youngsters to the hide. An amazing evening which included three "firsts" for the hide (I think). We watched a badger actually using a latrine, we saw a buzzard carrying an item of prey - a large mouse or possibly a rat - and we saw a badger climb up a tree to see what I had put on a shelf - it was food for the pine marten which I had thought was well out of reach of the badgers but obviously not. We saw at least three badgers plus a wood-mouse, two mallards and four roe deer.

Tues 30th May
1100 Curlew at Abernethy Golf Club still has four eggs in the nest and is incubating them.
1530 Bea and I presented our completed John Muir Award project to Alan Smith, the local coordinator.

Weds 31st May
1000 checked the Docharn camera - it had ceased to function due to dead batteries so I went home to get fresh ones. Upon opening my rucksack I found I already had fresh batteries with me so that was a waste of an hour. I trudged back to Docharn and got the system working again - and I cut the grass with scissors while I was there because the last pine marten picture we got was partially obscured by the long grass.
1100 Acting on a report from our local post office I went in search of a dead badger at Kinveachy on the A9. It was a female, not lactating, weighing exactly 11 kg on the north side of the road at NH9105 1881. Reported it to Scottish Badgers.
1200 Downloaded the pictures from the Docharn camera - no wonder the batteries died - there were over 400 pictures on the card. They included 19 of badgers and a very nice one of a roe buck. The rest were mostly caused by grass thrashing about in the recent gales.
1230 Worked on maps for this afternoon's surveying session.
1500 to 1800 Habitat survey of the area around Gartenbeag and Balnafoich - mostly fields of various grades and coniferous forest. There were two badger setts - a major multi-tunnel sett and a single tunnel outlier. We also found a crow trap with a live jackdaw in it. I hate those awful things but they are legal so they have to be left alone.
1900 Went back to Gartenbeag and did a bit more habitat work
2030 Took a group of 4 to the badger hide - 3 badgers seen.


June 2006

Thurs 1st June We noticed that blue tits were flying in and out of the sparrow box on our porch carrying food - they must have laid eggs and hatched them without us noticing.

Fri 2nd June
1600 Curlew at Abernethy Golf Club still sitting - presumably on eggs. The course was really busy but she sat tight regardless.

Sat 3rd June
1000 Went to a friend's house to video house martins at their nest. Lots of action. Heard a great story from the guy who was repairing the roof of the house about how his father used to rescue orphaned birds and animals and sometimes kept them as pets - for example a jackdaw and a rabbit became staunch family members at different times.
1500 Bea and I went on a walk in Craigie Woods.
Grebe car park - we replaced the apples and hazelnuts but found that the squirrels had broken their feeder again. Also all the seeds had gone (nothing had eaten seeds for weeks and suddenly they are gone) and most of the coconut. Will have to have a replacement and repair session later.
Nest box 13 - a hissing blue tit with chicks. It frightened the life out of me when I lifted the lid.
Nest box 12 - now contains all the moss and feathers required for a nest but the nest is not yet built. This suggests I should check all the other unused boxes to see if things have started in any more of them. I'll do it after golf tomorrow or on Monday.
Nest box 11 - crested tit chicks in the nest and both parents in nearby trees.
Corner Post Badger Sett - roe deer near the sett. We placed a pile peanuts mixed with syrup and pieces of pink plastic near the tunnel entrance and partially covered it with small stones to discourage birds and deer. We hope to discover which family of badgers is using the latrine near nest box 13 and if it is the badgers from this sett we may find the pink plastic in the latrine in a day or two.
2000 Went to Docharn to check the camera. It had taken 83 8-second videos of nothing because the selector wheel had moved to the video position and flies and moths kept triggering it. Grrrr! I then sat and watched for a while in the hope of roe deer or pine marten but all I got was eaten alive by midges.

Sun 4th June
1500 In view of finding a new nest in box 12 we thought it best to do a complete check today. However, we found nothing new. Blue tit chicks in box 1 but nothing in boxes 2 to 10. After visiting box 10 we diverted to the corner post badger sett but the concoction of nuts, syrup and plastic we left there last night was untouched. Before going home we checked the narrow-headed ant nest beside Deshar Road and found it to be fairly active. We collected some of the litter along the roadside on the way home.

Mon 5th June
1100 Removed the remote camera from the badger hide and brought it home. The card contained 520 images of which most were caused by the wind but some were of birds pinching food from the pine marten shelf and about a dozen were of a badger climbing the tree to get at the food. Amazing.

This badger climbed the tree to get at the jam sandwiches, peanut butter and apples that I had put on the shelf for the local pine martens

1915 Took the camera into Craigie Wood and set it up in prime capercaillie habitat with lots of food scattered about. I'll leave it there for several days before checking it.

Tues 6th June
1100 The curlew at Abernethy Golf Club is still on eggs. It seems a long time since she laid. I hope all is well with the eggs the first three were seen on the 7th May so it's nearly a month since the fourth one would have been laid. Incubation is usually 24 days or a little more so the chicks should be ready to hatch any day.
1500 Left a video camera running at the house marten nest at Chapelton while I went to check the Docharn camera. Nothing much on the card so I went back to collect the video camera. It had some nice bits of the birds coming and going.
1530 Keith Duncan from SNH and I went to ring the crested tit chicks in box 11. On the way we checked box 12 and that had a blue tit sitting on eggs. That makes 3 pairs of blue tits and one of cresties in the 13 boxes this year. Not bad - not great.

Crested tit chick

There were four crestie chicks in the nest and they were just about ready to fly. Great stuff.
Back at the house Keith ringed our seven blue tit chicks.

Weds 7th June
0730 Checked the curlew nest on the Abernethy golf course. 2 chicks had hatched, 1 egg was in the process of hatching and 1 was still in the egg. I went and found the green-keeper and told him. At 0900 I phoned SNH and arranged that Keith Duncan and I would try to ring the chicks at the nest first thing next morning.
1100 finished my Borneo report and uploaded it onto the website, then began working on the pictures for it.
1500 Bea and I and two ladies from BogWig continued with the habitat survey in the Docharn area.
1900 Bea and I continued with the habitat survey near Gartenbeag
2100 I took a group of five people to the badger hide. The action did not really begin until 2300, but eventually we had four badgers. Three of them climbed the tree to get at the food on the pine marten table.
Midnight - we left the hide and were stopped by the police. It turned out to be the police wildlife crime officer Mark Hilliard, whom I know quite well, and a lady officer so the conversation revolved around the latest action on that subject. Got home at 0025.

Thurs 8th June
0730 Keith Duncan and I ringed the four curlew chicks at Abernethy Golf Club. We were very lucky with the time because three of the chicks were still in the nest and the fourth one was only a few feet away. The ring numbers are FP67005/6/7 and 8.
1800 Meeting of CRAGG at Glenmore Lodge.
I was supposed to go badger watching later but the guests phoned to say they had to return home to England unexpectedly.

Fri 9th June
2100 to 2315 Took a couple from Canada to the badger hide. We saw roe deer, goldeneye ducks as well as a badger. The badger climbed a tree to get at the peanut butter sandwiches on the pine marten shelf.

Sat 10th June Yellow hammer on the 5th fairway at Abernethy Golf Club.
While I was playing golf Bea finished digging out our new pond. After the England game we put in the three pond liners, Bea sieved some soil on top of the liners and we then emptied the water butt into it. Bea added a few of the plants she had bought for the purpose and our pond was officially open for business. We just need some more rain to refill the water butt again to bring the pond up to its proper level and a trip to B & Q to buy slabs to go round the thing.

Sun 11th June
1500 I collected the camera from Docharn. It had 90 pictures on it - all of a badger and all ruined due to a weed growing up right in front of the lens.

1600 Went to the camera in Craigie Wood and changed its card and batteries. There were 340 pictures on the card - mostly of trees swaying in the wind but a few of roe deer and several of a red squirrel.

1700 Took the camera that I had retrieved from Docharn and set it up at the badger hide again in a position I hoped would get better shots of the badger climbing the tree.

1900 We took four buckets of water from Milton Loch for our new pond.

Mon 12th June
Spent most of the day completing the Borneo story on the website.
2100 Took four people to the badger hide. 4 badgers seen - a super evening.

Tues 13th June
0730 Filled up all the feeders at the grebe car park and in our garden.
Spent the morning editing video clips for my next wildlife talk.
1500 Went to the badger hide with more food - peanuts and sandwiches!
2100 Continued editing videos.

Weds 14th June
0900 Carried on with preparing two power-point talks.
1030 Laid plans and prepared maps for this afternoon's biodiversity audit session.
1500 Biodiversity audit session
1900 Another biodiversity audit session
2100 Took six people to the badger hide

Fri 16th June
0930 Prepared for this afternoon's meeting
1400 Meeting with Eddie Palmer re training for badger workers
2000 Brought the camera in from Craigie Wood

Sun 18th June
1000 Yellowhammer on 5th fairway at Nethy again

Mon 19th June
Finished filling up our new pond. There was some rain over the weekend and the water butt had enough in it this morning to complete the job without resorting to tap water.
I watched two sparrows - a male and a female - going in and out of the nest box attached to my office window. I slid the rear shutter back inside my office but the birds had stuffed the box with grass right to the top so I could see nothing.

Received the following badger road traffic accident report.
Place Name:Gollanfield. Map Ref or Landmark: NH8014-5229 100 yards west of Highland Crossroads Restaurant, Road Number A96. Sex and weight of badger unknown.

Tues 20th June
Bea and I finalised our drafts of the badger workers assessment documents.
2100 I filled up the feeders at the grebe car park - they were all almost empty.
2120 I checked boxes 13 and 12 and was spat at by an angry blue tit in both boxes. I think they were both brooding young.

Weds 21st June
1030 to 1430 SWT Council meeting in Perth
2100 to 2315 Badger hide with 4 guests. We saw at least two badgers. Otters were seen in the river the previous evening.

Fri 23rd June
Worked on JMA presentation
1700 Strimmed grass at the badger hide. Set up the remote camera again.

Sat 24th June
Worked on JMA presentation
Filled up all the feeders in the garden
Our new pond is definitely leaking - will have to empty it and start again.

Mon 25th June Worked on two presentations and on SWT and SB paperwork.

Tues 26th June Went to the house of friends for the evening and took them out to see their local badger sett. They showed us where kestrels had nested under the eaves of their house and we came away with some pellets to analyse. Received news of two badger RTAs on the A9 - one northbound near Kinveachy at NH9100-1890 and the other on the southbound side near Crainich at NH9050-2140.

Tues 27th June Went to the house of friends (the Hughes near Gartenbeag at NH 9589-2170) for the evening and took them out to see their local badger sett. They showed us where kestrels had nested under the eaves of their house and we came away with some pellets to analyse. Received news of two badger RTAs on the A9 - one northbound near Kinveachy at NH9100-1890 and the other on the southbound side near Crainich at NH9050-2140.

Weds 28th June
1500 Habitat survey in fields beside the A95
1900 Habitat survey in fields by the river
2030 Took a young couple to the badger hide - we saw at least two badgers including one climbing a tree. Also saw roe deer and brown hares.

Thurs 29th June
1900 Bea ran the first of three butterfly walks. This one was led by Tom Prescott from Kingussie. It was very well attended - 15 people - but the dull weather meant very few butterflies were seen

Fri 30th June
I spent the day at the Scottish Badgers Committee Meeting in Perth. Bea's second butterfly walk was cancelled due to bad weather

July 2006

Sat 1st July
1000 The third butterfly walk took place in lovely sunny weather. There were nine of us and we saw five butterflies - three of which we were able to identify and two we could not be sure of. The three were two small heath butterflies and one ringlet. The two we were not sure of were probably a meadow brown and a small white.
1300 I filled up the feeders at the grebe car park - they were totally empty again.

Mon 3rd July
100 Went to set up for this evenings talk in the village hall but dropped my laptop and wrecked it. Spent the rest of the day getting my stuff onto the village hall's own computer (from back up CDs etc) and thankfully all went well in the evening.

Tues 4th July
0730 Filled up the feeders at the grebe car park then went to the badger hide and retrieved the remote camera. There were quite a few nice badger pictures but the camera's clock had re-set itself (again) so I don't know what time they were taken.
1200 Watched lots of activity at our sparrow box on the office window. The parents were feeding at least three chicks - the chicks looked very well advanced.
Phone call from Ian Hutchinson to say a farmer in the North East of Scotland has been fined £600 for each of three charges of blocking a badger sett - total £1,800. This is much better than the paltry £200 fine given to the Croy man a few weeks ago for blocking a sett.

Weds 5th July Bea and I attended an all-day course at Boat of Garten on wildflower identification. We spent the morning in the 'classroom' and the afternoon in fields. It showed us how very difficult it is to become proficient in this subject.

Thurs 6th July
Bea was on the dragonfly workshop today. I watched our sparrows being fed in the window nest box - I was sure they would fledge today but they did not.

Fri 7th July
Bea went on the dragonfly workshop again. I filled up the feeders at the grebe car park again.
Our house sparrows fledged today.

Sun 9th July
Took a pal to the grebe car park. Rooks and jackdaws are stealing the food - must come up with a protective cage of some sort. There was fresh dung and beetle wing cases in the badger latrine near box 13.

Tues 10th July
Worked on database

Weds 12th July
Worked on database
1500 Biodiversity audit - habitat phase 1 survey of the area between the B970 and the Spey
1900 Continued with the phase 1 survey. Looked at fields both sides of the B970.

Thurs 13th July
2030 Badger hide with 3 guests. Saw at least four badgers plus a barn owl, roe deer, oyster catchers and goldeneye ducks. The badgers stayed around for ages and it was 2300 before we could leave the hide. Even then there was a badger at the gate where our cars were parked so we had to pause while it made a discrete and dignified exit under the fence.

Sat 15th July
1000 Worked on database
1100 Filled up feeders and bird baths at home
1200 Filled up feeders at the grebe car park. There was not a morsel left there.
2000 Added yet more food to the grebe car park
2030 Spent two hours on my own at the badger hide. Four badgers - an old scrawny one plus three in good shape. Got some nice video of the old one climbing three feet up a tree trunk to get at the bits of bread I had stuck there with peanut butter.

Sun 16th July
1800 Red squirrel in the garden. It tried to break into the sparrow gallery/tit nestbox on the front porch.
1830 Bea and I did the goldeneye duck count at Kincardine. 4 brown-heads seen - an adult female and three youngsters I think.

Weds 19th July
Only one BH gull seen today. Are they in the process of heading off?
Filled up our bird feeders and both bird baths. I even chucked a coule of bucktets of water into our new pond - it is evaporating fast and although water from the rain butt would be best, it's empty!
1500 Habitat survey session at Lethendryveole. Otter spraint beside an old deer carcase under the railway bridge at NH9086-2076. Dragonfly exuvia in a stream at NH9054-2049.
1900 Another habitat survey session along the Milton track with three other BogWig members. We visited the Milton Loch badger sett. Very overgrown with broom - could not find all the tunnels and most of those we did find were unused and fully grassed over (I fell in one of them). I only found two fairly active tunnels. A previous visit found 22 active tunnels so where are all the badgers?

Fri 21st July
Three BH gulls still around this morning.
Worked on database.

Sun 23rd June
0800 Refilled most of the grebe car park feeders. They were all empty.
1600 Refilled the garden feeders and water baths, then went back to the grebe car park to put out some coconuts. Most of the apples I put out in the morning were already gone!
2030 Took four people to the badger hide. We saw four badgers, a roe deer and youngster and something in the river that might have been an otter.

Mon 24th July
Still got a sea gull.
Worked on database.
2030 Did the Wildlife of the CNP talk in the village hall. Only 14 in the audience. It has been a quiet year so far with very few tourists about.

Tues 25th July
No BH Gull - looks like the last one left yesterday.

Weds 26th July
1500 Habitat survey near Kincardine church
1900 Habitat survey at Dochlaggie
Heard today that a beaver kit has been born at Aigas. I put it on the beavers website and notified everyone I thought should know.

Fri 28th July
Fitted a cage over the seed feeder in our garden

Sat 29th July
Fitted a cage over the seed feeder in the community garden. Filled the feeders in the community garden, our garden and the grebe car park. Topped up our pond from the water butt.

Mon 31st July
2015 Took 4 people to the badger hide. 3 badgers seen. Rather a wet evening but the badgers enjoyed it after all the dry weather.

August 2006

Weds 2nd Aug
Worked on database
2030 Badger hide with four old friends. A very pleasant evening but we only glimpsed two badgers briefly.

Thurs 3rd Aug
1315 to 1600 Habitat Survey of the Mains of Garten area between the B970 and the Spey.
1545 On the walk home found the remains of a dead badger beside the B970 at NH 9534-1919 just north of the entrance to a house. The badger was too decomposed to determine sex or weight.

Fri 4th Aug
Finished bringing database up to date. Phew!
House sparrow female feeding young again in the window nest box!
Drove to Wallyford. Saw dead pine marten on the A9 near Kingussie at NN75889951.

Sat 5th Aug
Bea and I drove from Wallyford to Hessilhead to visit Andy and Gay and collect some weld mesh for our proposed cages at the grebe car park. Had close encounters with otters, foxes, badgers, a weasel and all manner of birds.

Messages on answer machine about a dead badger on the A95 near the Glebe farm.

Sun 6th Aug
Found the above dead badger. Male 11kg at map ref NH92721937.

Mon 7th Aug
Planned next weeks trapping session. Ordered Longworth Traps. Prepared Trip Traps.
2030 I did the Wildlife talk in the village hall - more than 30 people in the audience. One of the audience suggested infecting some grey squirrels with a modified version of the parapox virus that they were not immune to and let nature take its course, thus wiping out grey squirrels. Interesting thought - would it work? - must pass it on somewhere.

Tues 8th Aug
11.00 Filled all the grebe car park feedrs
12.00 Began building a cage for the grebe car park to keep the big birds off the food

Weds 9th Aug
0800 Filled up our own birds feeders and cleaned out the bird baths
0900 Continued with the cage

1500 Installed the new cage at the grebe car park
2030 Took four people to the badger hide - saw at least three badgers, probably more. A super evening.

Thurs 10th Aug
0800 Watched at the grebe car park to see how the squirrels were coping with the new anti-rook cage. No problem. The apples were already half eaten and a squirrel came along and went through the mesh into the cage without pausing for thought so hopefully the rooks will stop stealing all the food before the squirrels and small birds can get their share.
1400 to 1530 Habitat survey in fields between Lackgie and the river. Got rather wet in heavy showers
1900 Set five Trip Traps at Milton Loch - each with a different bait (crushed peanuts, porridge oats, bird seed, fruit and fibre and dried meal worms. Tomorrow I will add four longworth traps to the set - they only arrived today so no time to unpack them for tonight's session. Photocopied paperwork ready for next week's trapping workshop.

Fri 11th Aug
0715 Checked the Trip Traps. Three had been tripped - two had not caught anything but the other one contained a common shrew. It was a male weighing 7 gms. It was in the trap with crushed peanuts as bait and I do not think that is suitable food for a shrew. Might have to re-think the bait and put dog food in every trap. Added the four new Longworth traps to the set.
1015 Checked all nine traps - nothing caught
1215 Checked all nine traps - nothing caught
1915 Checked all nine traps - nothing caught
The latest batch of house sparrows in my office window nest box fledged today.

Sat 12th Aug
0715 Checked traps. Wood mice caught in 2 trip-traps - one baited with peanuts and the other with bird seed. The mice were one female weighing 16 gm and one male weighing 16.5 gm. Brought the number of traps up to 10 (6 trip traps and 4 longworth traps).
1845 Checked traps. 2 longworth traps tripped but nothing caught

Sun 13th Aug
0810 Checked traps. Two common shrews caught - both in trip traps and again it was the crushed peanuts and mixed bird seed that attracted them. The shrew in the peanut trap was a female weighing 7 gm and the shrew in the bird seed trap was a male weighing 8.5 gm. When I released the male it seemed disoriented and just sat there for a while but before I could go back to the car for my camera it toddled off into the long grass. I then collected all the traps and took them home to dry them out, the weather having become damp and cold. So over the three nights I caught 3 common shrews and 2 wood mice.

1600 Goldeneye count at Kincardine. None seen, but I watched a female roe deer swim across the River Spey.

Mon 14th Aug
1000 Prepared and repaired trip traps for tomorrow's session
1630 Filled up the feeders in the Community Garden

Tues 15th Aug
1700 Filled the feeders at the grebe car park and put the seed feeder inside the new cage.
1715 Checked the badger latrine beside the secret path in Craigie Wood. There was lots of fresh dung in it - where is the sett?
1900 Training session at our house for six BoGWiG members on trapping small mammals. We then prepared six trip traps and four longworth traps and set them in the Milton Loch area. The bait was a spoonful each of crushed peanuts, mixed bird seeds and dog food (for the shrews).

Weds 16th Aug
0700 The six BoGWiG members met at Milton Loch to check the traps. We had caught a female common shrew weighing 6.5 gm in a trip trap and a male wood mouse weighing 16.5 gm in a longworth trap. The shrew was in lively condition so hopefully the addition of dog food was helpful. We reset those two traps before leaving and we will repeat the exercise for the next two days.
1000 Built another squirrel feeder.
1945 Checked the ten small mammal traps - nothing caught.
2020 Filled the bird feeders for a disabled neighbour.

Thurs 17th Aug
0700 Three BoGWiG members checked the ten small mammal traps. Two were tripped - one was empty but the other had caught a female wood mouse weighing 12 gm.

0800 Filled our bird feeders. They are being emptied more quickly now that the weather has turned colder.
1100 Removed broken squirrel feeder from Abernethy Golf Club and took it home for repair.
1500 Removed broken squirrel feeder from the grebe car park and took it home for repair.
1515 Did some habit surveying in the Milton Loch area.
1600 Checked the small mammal traps - nothing caught.
1900 I attended an anti-wind farm meeting near Grantown on Spey. The assembled company were well up to speed with the issues and were beginning to get organised with bank accounts and appointing a committee.

Fri 18th Aug
0700 Six BoGWiG members checked and brought in the ten small mammal traps at Milton Loch. One trip trap had been triggered (by a slug!) and three longworth traps had caught wood mice. It was raining heavily at the time so two of the three mice were rather wet and their weights were probably unreliable. The details were:
Trap L4 wood mouse, male, 12 gm. Trap L3 wood mouse, female, 27 gm. Trap L2 wood mouse, male, 27 gm.
1000 Cleaned all the traps
1100 Worked on several squirrel feeders

Sat 19th Aug
1300 Returned the repaired squirrel feeder to the grebe car park

Sun 20th Aug
1000 Completed an order for two squirrel feeders.

Mon 21st Aug
2030 Gave the Wildlife of the CNP lecture in the village hall to an audience of about 30 people.

Tues 22nd Aug
0830 Filled up the feeders in our garden. The birds are still eating noticeably more food
1230 Bea and I gave a presentation at the Cairngorms National Park HQ in Grantown about our John Muir Award project.
1400 Cleaned and filled up the bird baths
1500 Built a crested tit nest box for Audrey Martin

Weds 23rd Aug
1600 Checked Cottorton Farm for suitability for trapping small mammals. Seemed OK
1700 RSPB phoned to say they saw no badgers on their visit to the hide last night.
2200 I went to the hide on my own (tonight's group cancelled at short notice) and stayed till 2340 - no badgers seen.

Thurs 24th Aug
0830 Took a fresh supply of peanuts to the badger hide. Noticed that the food I put out last night (including peanut butter sandwiches) had not been eaten. Plainly, there were no badgers there all night. I noticed there were lots of different sorts of fungus growing in the badger hide field - and remembered I had also seen lots of fungus on Abernethy Golf Course this week. Pity our Fungus Foray is not for another month.

1830 I put out four longworth traps at Cottorton farm baited with mixed bird seed, crushed peanuts and dog food.

Fri 25th Aug
0630 Checked the four traps put out last night. Only caught a small toad.
2030 Checked the traps again - nothing caught at all

Sat 26th Aug
1000 Filled the bird feeders in our garden
1500 Took three trip taps and two longworth traps baited with crushed peanuts, mixed bird seed and dog food and set them in a stream bed on Mullingarroch farm.
1530 Went to the badger hide to read the log book to see of the RSPB had had any better luck with badgers than previous visitors to the hide this week. Thankfully they had had two badgers between 2150 and 2300
1600 Took three trip taps and two longworth traps baited with crushed peanuts, mixed bird seed and dog food and set them among grass on the river bank just below the Boat of Garten bridge near the fishing hut.

Sun 27th Aug
0700 Red Squirrel in our garden - we hadn't seen one for a while.
0700 Checked the traps. At the Boat Bridge trip trap number 4 caught a male wood mouse weighing 20.5gm. The Mullingarroch traps only caught slugs.
0830 There was a dead female shrew weighing 4.5gm on the path at Abernethy Golf Club.
1900 We filled up the feeders at the grebe car park. While we were there we added to the pile of brash by the viewing platform to discourage people from walking to the feeding area.
1930 We checked the traps at Boat Bridge and at Mullingarroch. Nothing caught.

Mon 28th Aug
0900 Checked the traps. At Boat Bridge fishing hut trip traps 3 and 4 each caught a male wood mouse - one was 21gm and the other 22gm.
0930 At Mullingarroch farm nothing was caught - not even slugs!
1100 Spent much of the rest of the day working on badger stuff - rehab, database and environmental surveys
1600 Went looking for vole habitat for my next trapping session.
1800 Checked the traps - nothing caught at either site.
2030 Did the Wildlife of the CNP talk at the village hall.

Tues 29th Aug
0715 Checked traps at Boat Bridge Fishing Hut. Two wood mice caught - trip trap 5 contained a male weighing 20gm and Longworth trap 3 contained a female weighing 19gm.

0730 Checked traps at Mullingarroch Farm. Three traps were tripped - two trip traps contained slugs but longworth trap number 1 had caught a female wood mouse weighing just 12gm - she must have been a youngster.

Weds 30th Aug
1600 Prepared ten traps for a small mammal session in Craigie Woods
1700 Set the ten traps in Craigie Woods, baited with crushed peanuts, mixed seeds and dog food.

Thurs 31st Aug
0700 Checked the traps. Longworth trap 4 had caught a female wood mouse weighing 27gm.
1800 Checked the traps - nothing caught.

September 2006

Fri 1st Sept
0800 Fixed the water butt overflow so that it ran smoothly into our pond. It was raining heavily. Filled the bird seed feeders
0830 Checked the small mammal traps in Craigie Wood. Caught two female wood mice. The first was in trip trap number 5 and weighed 22gm and the other was in longworth trap number 4 and weighed 28gm which is quite heavy but she was rather damp so the water might account for the extra weight.
0930 Took some 6mm mesh for my pal in Nethy Bridge to repair his squirrel feeder.
1200 At Achnashellach checked out possible badger activity at the Allt na Chonas forest at NH070482 where a hydro electric scheme is planned. It is not ideal badger habitat in itself but there is anecdotal evidence of badgers at Achnasheen not far away (including word of persecution) and some badger road casualties between Achnasheen and Garve. Will recommend a full-scale badger survey.
1230 Lunch on the shore of Loch Carron watching for otters. None seen. Heavy rain.
1500 Checked on a badger sett near Inverness. There are at least ten active tunnels.
1630 In response to a request from a local I went in search of two badger setts near Farr near the banks of the river Nairn. I found one under a rock and the other under the roots of a tree. Both are disused and have been so for a long time. Could not find any obvious reason for this. The setts are in a community woodland with a brand new rabbit and sheep proof fence around it, which I followed looking for evidence of badgers digging under or climbing the fence. After a while I came to a five barred gate with no rabbit or sheep mesh on it at all. So why bother spending all that time, effort and money on such a wonderful fence when rabbits and badgers could pass through the gate willy-nilly.
1800 When I got home I checked the traps in Craigie Wood. Nothing caught.

Sat 2nd Sep
0830 Checked the traps in Craigie Woods - three of the four longworth traps had caught wood mice. Trap 1 female 28gm, Trap 3 young female 13gm and Trap 4 young male 13gm. After weighing the mice I brought the traps home - end of this three-day session.

Mon 4th Sep
Spent most of the morning writing reports on badger issues to do with various environmental assessments.

Weds 6th Sep
Cleaned bird feeders and bird baths in the garden and refilled them.

Thurs 7th Sep
1530 Refilled the feeders at the grebe car park - there was not a morsel of food left.

Sat 9th Sep
1045 I checked part of the Mullingarroch badger sett. Two tunnels freshly dug out and two others in regular use.
1100 Bea, granddaughter Anna and I set off in lovely sunny weather from Mullingarroch car park for a picnic at Loch Mallachie. We soon came across a pine marten dropping on the path at NH 95331908. All along the way there were colourful fungus and at NH 95691827 we found a tiny lizard - brown with a yellow stripe along its back and an orange tummy. There were lots of birds - notably coal tits and a great spotted woodpecker.
1210 We arrived at Loch Mallachie where there were herons and lots of ducks. We sat down for our picnic at our favourite spot which we call "otter point" because an otter once surfaced right in front of us there. Appropriately there were now several otter spraints on a rock a few metres from the shore beside where we had seen the otter - map ref NH96431739.

Sun 10th Sep
1955 to 2135 Anna and I took two ladies to the badger hide. We saw no badgers and neither did the two previous groups this week - which is a bit worrying. Will try to get to the hide first thing tomorrow morning to see if the food I put out is still there or if the badger did eventually turn up and eat it.

Mon 11th Sep
0630 I returned to the badger hide as planned to see if there were signs of badgers. There were. Almost all of the food was gone and in the rough, tussocky grass in the ten-metre strip along by the roadside fence there was lots of badger digging just as you would expect at this time of year. They just seem to be avoiding the hide area in the early evenings.
1230 Went to Inshes Church in Inverness to look at development plans for the eastern corridor of Inverness. I spoke to a planning official about mitigation measures for badgers along the A96 and other roads. He assured me badgers would be planned for. We shall see.

Tues 12th Sep
0930 Passed a dead badger beside the A95 on the western outskirts of Charlestown of Aberlour at NJ26004240. Traffic conditions prevented me from stopping to sex and weigh the animal.
1830 Refilled the feeders at the grebe car park

Weds 13th Sep
1045 Scottish Wildlife Trust Council meeting in Edinburgh

Thurs 14th Sep
Fed the birds in our garden

Sat 16th Sep
1900 Checked the badger hide. Pine marten dung on the concrete step at the hide door.

Sun 17th Sep
Did the goldeneye count survey at Kincardine estate. One brown-head seen.

Mon 18th Sep
0830 Filled the feeders at the grebe car park

Weds 20th Sep
Filled all the feeders in our garden

Thurs 21st Sep
1800 I attended a CRAGG meeting at Glenmore Lodge

Sat 23rd Sep
1000 Bea organised a Fungus Foray in the Boat of Garten area. Earnest Emmett was the expert leader.
1900 to 2100 I took four people to the badger hide. We saw two badgers, a roe deer and some bats.

Mon 25th Sep
0900 Filled bird feeders at home and at the grebe car park. There was a crested tit at the grebe car park. The green cooking apples I had put out last week were still largely uneaten.
0930 There was a dead red squirrel on the B9153 road south of Carrbridge at NH91022045.

Tues 26th Sep
On the way to Inverness I saw a dead pine marten on the A9 near Dalrachneay at NH89372295 and on the way home there was a dead red squirrel on the A9 south of Tomatin at NH81042789

Pine Marten

Weds 27th Sep
Went to the badger hide to check on activity. I took a ladder to look on top of the pine marten nest box and found two small piles of dung. They were not fresh but neither were they old so along with the dung I found on the badger hide step on the 16th I guess it means the pine martens are about.

Weds 27th Sep
Went to the badger hide to check on activity. I took a ladder to look on top of the pine marten nest box and found two small piles of dung. They were not fresh but neither were they old so along with the dung I found on the badger hide step on the 16th I guess it means the pine martens are about.

Thurs 28th Sep
1000 Received a visit from three representatives from the Vincent Wildlife Trust. We discussed many wildlife matters but dealt mainly with pine marten issues. We visited the badger hide and Milton loch. At the badger hide we found some bumble bees had taken up residence in the down and wood shavings in a goldeneye box and my guests thought they would be preparing to hibernate. One bee was quite large and probably the queen. I shall leave that box undisturbed for the winter and duplicate it with a new box nearby early in the new year.

Fri 29th Sep
Fed the birds in our garden

Sat 30th Sep
Bea and I attended the Scottish Wildlife Trust AGM at the Gateway Centre, St Andrews

October 2006
Sun 1st Oct
Completed an EIA study

Mon 2nd Oct
Worked on a forthcoming badger talk

Tues 3rd Oct
Fed the birds at the grebe car park and at the community garden. All the food was gone from both places.
Attended a briefing for the National Park on the affairs of Boat of Garten, including the work of the wildlife group (BoGWiG).

Weds 4th Oct
0900 I drove Bea to Dallas for a meeting.
1000 While she was there I took myself off for a walk up the Hill of Wangie. I found fox and pine marten dung on the path at NJ12255405 and rowan berries, both old skins and fresh berries, on the path at NJ12105434. In the corner of a field I found a place where pine martens had burrowed under the fence and marked the place with rowan berry skins.

1400 Cleaned out the food bin from the Boat of Garten community garden. The lid had been left off by accident and all the food was spoiled by water.
1500 Built a new seed feeder for the birds. Cleaned out our bird baths.

Thurs 5th Oct
1500 Went to look for the ********* badger setts. Very difficult dense conifer plantation. Eventually found the main sett, then lost it, then found it again on the NE facing slope of a deep, steep gully. I found three tunnels on this visit - all with large tunnels and showing signs of recent use, although probably not permanently occupied. I also found some disused outlier tunnels in the general area. By this time I was soaked in sweat - then the rain started.
1930 Bea and I attended a meeting of the Highland Red Squirrel Group at SNH headquarters in Inverness.

Fri 6th Oct
1000 Returned the feeder bin to the community garden and topped up the feeders. Did not require much - there are not many birds around there at the moment.
1100 Returned to ******* to continue checking old badger sett records. At sett 1 I looked for extra tunnels because the old record said there were 18 of them. I only found five on this second visit (I found three yesterday) one of which looked to be in current use. Moved on to setts 2 and 3 which required a walk across bog, then through pleasant birch woods with lots of signs of badgers to a high deer fence with wooden slats along its upper section so that capers and other birds could see it and not fly into it. There were also some badger doors of the box variety along the foot of the fence. Some of the boxes were in a state of collapse and there were holes in the fence so it was all a bit pointless. Maybe the boxes had served their purpose while the conifers were young and were now not worth replacing.

Sett 2 is a main sett lying just10 metres from the fence on its east side on a south facing slope in amongst thick conifers. There are 7 active tunnels and a few inactive ones - I did not count in detail because the trees were too closely packed for access. The old record calls it an outlier with 10 disused tunnels. I would now call it a main sett with 7 used tunnels - times have changed. I also found a latrine. There is grassy birch wood nearby which, although not as ideal as actual pasture, is reasonable badger foraging country.

Sett 3 is a two-tunnel outlier on the west side of the fence and just 30 metres from it. The tunnels are among ferns on the same south facing slope as sett 2. One of the tunnels is disused and the other is active.

Sett 4. I searched for an hour and gave up. It is simply not within 300 metres of the given map reference - and it should have been easy to find because the description spoke of 8 large tunnel entrances. There is however badger active all over the place and a rickety impromptu bridge across a fast flowing stream which would give any badgers living in the birch wood easy access to the grazed fields on the other side. At the end of the bridge I found a latrine which is being used by both pine martens and badgers, containing rowan berries as well as badger dung, so it looks as if both animals are using the bridge. It would be an ideal place to have a camera if it was not such a long walk.

Sett 5 At ******* I found an outlier tunnel which had not been used recently.

Sat 7th Oct
1000 Bea and I spent the day at Oatridge Agricultural College for the Scottish Badgers AGM and conference.

Sun 8th Oct
1430 Goldeneye count at Kincardine - no ducks of any kind seen.
1430 Found several new badger latrines at Kincardine.
1500 Visited the ******* sett. Lots of fresh diggings at the tunnels and more latrines
1530 Checked the hide sett. Plenty of activity there too so these badgers are doing well.
1600 Began constructing hedgehog nest boxes at home ready for new arrivals next week.

Mon 9th Oct
Spent most of the day building hedgehog nest boxes and runs
In the evening rehearsed our talk for tomorrow's John Muir meeting in Nethy Bridge, the finished putting my badger setts on Memory Map.

Tues 10th Oct
1530 Gave our talk to the John Muir gathering in Nethy Bridge
1700 Filled the feeders at the grebe car park then did some litter collection there.

Weds 11th Oct
Finished the hedgehog boxes and runs.

Thurs 12th Oct
1400 Searched for two badger setts in Mondhuie Wood, working from an old set of records. Found the first one just 130 metres from the reported map reference.

The sett is on the north west corner of a distinct knoll covered in mature conifers - one of several such knolls in this area which is mostly bog with the stumps of old felled trees poking up through. The sett is just three tunnels - all of which are choked with twigs and other debris from long disuse. Hardly surprising as the area is thoroughly unsuitable for badgers, although perfect for crested tits - I heard one alarm calling near the badger sett. I found two outlier tunnels - one on the north east corner of the same knoll as the main sett and the other on the north west corner of next nearest knoll. Incidentally, I fell into the bog between the two knolls and got my wellies full of very cold water. Yuk!!

1545 Searched for more setts in a different part of the wood near Croftronan but could find no trace of them anywhere near the reported map references, although a local lady told me afterwards that there were some setts further into the wood. Sounds like a job for another day.

1715 Took two of my newly built hedgehog boxes and runs to two houses in Kinchurdy road ready to receive the new arrivals at the weekend. The third set-up will be in our garden. I also fixed up a crested tit nest box in the garden of one of the ladies concerned - her house backs onto the pine forest.

Fri 13th Oct
1030 Scottish Wildlife Trust meeting at the Royal Society in Edinburgh to celebrate the completion of the lottery reserves project and to launch our 25 year vision of a Scotland containing a well connected web of wildlife sites across large areas to help re-build Scotland's wildlife. There were lots of interesting people there to talk to and not enough time to do so properly because I had to dash away for a second meeting which was .....
1400 Meeting at Forestry Commission headquarters between Howard David and Moira Baptie of FCS/FES and Eddie Palmer and I from Scottish Badgers to discuss a data exchange. The meeting went very well with every prospect that the two bodies will soon pool their knowledge of badger sett locations in Scotland.

Sat 14th Oct
1000 Meeting of Scottish Badgers Advisory Group in Perth, followed by a Trustees meeting at 1500. All went reasonably smoothly, although the question of a national database still worries some group and network leaders. Security of the information was the main concern and we still have work to do to allay everyone's fears. The commercial value of such data may have been another sticking point although that was not actually confessed so the less said about that the better in case I offend someone. The sooner we sort out the security angle the better, then any other objections will have to be named for what they are and not hidden behind the security issue as may be happening now. (Steps down off his soapbox).

At lunch time Andy Christie of Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust transferred three pairs of hedgehogs from his car to my van and after the meeting I drove them home to Boat of Garten where they were installed in their new temporary homes. Five of the six animals carried blue tags as follows:

Numbers 092 and 093 went to Julia Spencer
Numbers 094 and 095 went to Audrey Martin
No tag and number 096 stayed at our house

We checked our pair after dark and they were out and inspecting their wire-mesh run.

Sun 15th Oct
0800 Checked the hedgehogs. They had eaten all the food and were sleeping soundly. We golfed for much of the day but after dark we checked the hedgehogs again and they were out in their run and feeding.

Mon 16th Oct
We had an email from Audrey Martin to say here hedgehogs were fine - just like ours.
We decided the hedgehog nest box in our garden was too small so I made a bigger one and transferred the animals to it.
Spent the rest of the day catching up on wildlife paperwork.

Tues 17th Oct
1000 to 1030 Filled the feeders at home and at the grebe cark, including installing the new seed feeder which I made out of a drain pipe. Crested tit in our garden this morning.
1200 Left a supply of peanuts at Abernethy Golf Club for the squirrels
1230 Topped up the feeders at the community garden.

Thurs 19th Oct
1930 Did a talk on badgers at the Beaufort Hotel in Inverness for the Inner Moray Firth SWT Member Centre.
Our hedgehogs are still doing fine - eating everything we provide, crapping all over the place and sleeping through the daytime in their comfortable box.

Fri 20th Oct
0800 Experimented by putting a variety of different nuts in the squirrel feeder at the grebe car park - including hazelnuts, pecan nuts, almonds and walnuts. The seed feeder is empty already - maybe I should put a mesh around it to keep the bigger birds off.

Sat 21st Oct
0800 Hedgehogs have eaten all the food again, including some mealworms which our birds don't seem to know what to so with.
1000 Checked the grebe car park again to see how the squirrels reacted to the bigger nuts. The nuts were all gone so the squirrels clearly approve.
1030 Checked some badger setts near Delbog.

Sandy Caird from Mhor Cottage kindly guided me through the bog into the correct area which we then searched for half an hour or more without success. We were working from an old report of this sett that originated from a rather unreliable source. After Sandy went home I continued and eventually found the sett at a place not too far from the given map reference but nowhere near the description. The sett is among heather on an open steep slope devoid of trees. I found three busy latrines near the sett including the blue wing cases of dung beetles.
I then spent more than an hour looking for another sett. The given map reference is in the middle of the bog so is clearly wrong but the description was "in birch woodland at the edge of the bog" so I scoured all the woodland around the bog without success. However, I did find a solitary outlier showing signs of recent use.
1900 Checked our hedgehogs through the evening - both were seen eating food. We will release them tomorrow.

Sun 22nd
1100 I made a hedgehog hibernation box and put it under the hedge as an extra option for our pair when we release them.

1600 Released the hedgehogs by removing their wire mesh run. The both came out in the evening and had a wander about the garden and we speculated over whether they would go away or just go back to their nest box.

Mon 23rd Oct
0800 Both hedgehogs were asleep in their nest box.
1800 Took two people from the Wirral Barn Owl Trust to the badger hide. A pleasant evening with two badgers on view.
2130 Got home and both hedgehogs were exploring the garden.

Tues 24th Oct
0830 We are down to one hedgehog - Spike was nowhere to be seen but Taggy was fast asleep in his nest box.
0900 Worked on IPMR nest records. Phone BTO to voice some frustrations with the programme. Carl Barimore was able to fix most of them.
1030 Was told that Tilly Smith's son picked up a dead female badger on the B970 by the old badger crossing near Glencairn - sadly it could be one of our badger hide family. A few days later Tilly phoned to say it weighed 8.75kg.
1800 Taggy the hedgehog came out of his nest box to explore. He ate no food and sat by the water butt looking around.
1930 to 2100 at the badger hide by myself. No badgers seen.
2200 Hedgehog food has still not been touched. Both of our youngsters may now both have taken themselves off into the big wide world.
2300 Email from an SNH officer about a badger road casualty on the A9 at Poles, Dornoch.

Weds 25th Oct
No hedgehogs in the box this morning but all the food was gone.
Spent most of the day working on the badger database.
1800 Set out the remote camera to see if it is the hedgehogs or the local cats eating the food

Thurs 26th Oct
0800 Checked the camera - it showed the hedgehogs eating the food but they are not sleeping in the nest box. We'll keep the camera out there for a few nights to see if they eventually fend fully for themselves.
0900 Did more work on the badger database
1500 Visited a lady in Aberlour who has badger problems in her garden. It turned out to be rabbits.
2100 Put out remote camera in the garden for hedgehogs again

Fri 27th Oct
0800 Checked camera and once more we had a hedgehog - we think it was Spike because we could not see a blue tag.

Sat 28th Oct
0800 Checked the camera in the garden - we still had a hedgehog feeding in the night.
0900 Bea and I filled the feeders at home, at the grebe car park and at the community garden
1800 We put out food and the camera for the hedgehogs

Sun 29th Oct
0800 Food was largely gone. Camera had no hedgehogs on it - I think it was lined up in the wrong direction.

1000 to 1230 We joined the RSPB gang at Mullingarroch to dig new ponds and enlarge old ones for the dragonflies in that part of Abernethy forest. We had soup (supplied by the RSPB) and filled rolls (supplied by us) at the car park afterwards.

1800 Put out food and the camera for the hedgehogs again

Sun 29th Oct
0800 Food was largely gone. Camera had no hedgehogs on it - I think it was lined up in the wrong direction.
1000 to 1230 We joined the RSPB gang at Mullingarroch to dig new ponds and enlarge old ones for the dragonflies in that part of Abernethy forest. We had soup (supplied by the RSPB) and filled rolls (supplied by us) at the car park afterwards.
1800 Put out food and the camera for the hedgehogs again
1900 Received email confirmation of a dead female badger on the A949 near Whiteface at NH68998938.

Mon 30th Oct
0800 Checked camera - no hedgehogs shown
0930 Checked the setts in the Loch Roid area. The Loch Roid sett itself, Bills Badgery Basin and its NE and SW annexes all showed some signs of use but not as much as I would like to see. There was very fresh pine marten dung on the track at NH92851892 and a badger latrine beside the secret path where we have seen one before - I think it marks a junction of tracks - but this time it contained blue wing cases of beetles and grain.
1830 Took two new members of the Highland Badger Network to the badger hide. We saw one badger several times over a period of two hours.

Tues 31st Oct
0800 Checked camera - no hedgehogs
0900 Spent most of the day on the badger database.
1800 Put food and camera out for the hedgehogs again

November 2006

Weds 1st Nov
0800 No hedgehogs on the camera
0900 to 1130 Finished the badger database.
1800 We put out food for the hedgehogs and set up the camera again
2145 We checked the garden and found Spike the hedgehog eating the food.

Thurs 2nd Nov
0800 Checked the camera - a few hedgehog pics
1800 We put out food for the hedgehogs and set up the camera again
2000 I built a rook-proof cage for the grebe car park seed feeder
2145 We checked the garden but saw no hogs.

Fri 3rd Nov
0730 Checked the camera - several hedgehog pics including this one of a cat inspecting it from on top of the food shelter at 00:36 last night.

0930 Installed the rook-proof cage and topped up the feeders at the grebe car park. Added more branches to the brash barrier to discourage people from going too close to the feeders.
1030 Topped up the food at the community garden and in our garden. Cleaned and refilled our bird baths.

Sat 4th Nov
0730 Checked the camera - several hedgehog pics .
1000 Made the base for a dust bath for the birds.
1800 Put out food and the camera again for the hedgehog

Sun 5th Nov
1800 Put out food and the camera again for the hedgehog
1845 to 2000 To the badger hide on my own. One, possibly two, badgers seen. Set up a camera to see what the badgers made of some cat food. Aviemore were having their bonfire night so it was all a bit noisy and flashy. I was quite surprised the badgers came out at all.

Mon 6th Nov
0730 Checked the camera - several hedgehog pics, including one of it climbing our fence - the hog was about five feet off the ground when the camera fired.
0800 Checked the camera at the badger hide. There was one of a badger late last night and two of a fox at 0742 this morning.
1940 to 2055 I went to the badger hide on my own. Two badger from 2004 to about 2030.Tues 7th Nov
0800 Several hedgehog and cat pictures on the camera
1730 Put out food and the camera again for the hedgehog
1940 Went to the badger hide on my own. Badger came out only four minutes after I called to let them know I was there. It ate peanuts for 25 minutes. I retrieved the camera from its box - the batteries were dead. When I got home I found there were all sorts of pictures of badgers and a fox on the card.

Tues 7th Nov
0800 Several hedgehog and cat pictures on the camera
1730 Put out food and the camera again for the hedgehog
1940 Went to the badger hide on my own. Badger came out only four minutes after I called to let them know I was there. It ate peanuts for 25 minutes. I retrieved the camera from its box - the batteries were dead. When I got home I found there were all sorts of pictures of badgers and a fox on the card.

Weds 8th Nov
0800 Several hedgehog and cat pictures on the camera again
1000 Took a fresh supply of peanuts to the hide. Brought the remote camera home
1800 Put out two cameras in the garden

Thurs 9th Nov
0800 A few hedgehog and cat pictures on the camera again - not as many of the hedgehog as in previous nights.
0900 to 0930 Cleaned our bird feeders. Filled up all the feeders in our garden, the grebe car park and the community garden.
2000 Put out food and the camera for the hedgehog

Fri 10th Nov
0745 Checked the camera - no hedgehog last night. It was very cold so maybe it has settled down for the winter
1700 Put out food and the camera in the garden for the hedgehog.
1745 - 2030 To the badger hide with four guests. No badgers seen. Pity

Sat 11th Nov
0730 Two pictures of the hedgehog - but the camera blew over in the wind and got rather wet. Thankfully it is still working.
1030 Bea and I attended the all-day meeting of the SWT North Forum. A very full agenda.

Sun 12th Nov
1300 I filled all of our bird feeders
1645 to 1800 I went to the badger hide on my own and set up the old camera. No badgers seen.
1830 Put out food and the camera for the hedgehog in our garden

Mon 13th Nov
0730 Overnight rain mucked up the lens of the camera so no readable pictures.
0900 Worked on badger admin all morning.
1200 Received a report of a dead otter on the B970 road near Nethy Bridge.
1700 Went to badger hide. No badgers seen but there were pictures on the camera of badgers last night between 2048 and 2130 and at 0330.
1830 Set up the camera in our garden for the hedgehog again.

Tues 14th Nov
0745 No hedgehog pictures on the camera
0900 Finished the badger stats for the year. It has been a quiet year both in visitor numbers and in badgers seen. A copy of the report can be found at the Highland Badger Network website.
1230 Removed the camera from the badger hide to recharge its batteries. The card had lots of badgers on it - they arrived at between 2000 and 2100 on the last two evenings so it looks as if I have been going there too early.
1400 Worked on our Borneo talk
1800 Put the camera out for the hedgehog again but without much hope. It has not been around for three nights now.
1930 Went to badger hide and fixed up the camera again. I put out peanuts, peanut butter and some of the new proprietary badger food I bought this morning.

Weds 15th Nov
0800 No hedgehog pics on the camera
0900 Spent the morning responding to papers concerning the forthcoming national badger survey and writing the annual report for the Strathspey badger hide.
1900 Bea and I went to Forest Lodge for a meeting between the RSPB and local community representatives regarding the RSPB's plans for the future of Abernethy Forest. A very useful and informative evening.
2300 I distributed the badger hide report by email to dozens of people.

Thurs - Sat Away for a few days.

Sun 19th Nov
1000 Worked on the Borneo presentation most of the day. Also applied for schedule 1 bird licenses for next season, cleared up the hedgehog stuff in the garden and removed the wasp nest from the sparrow gallery on the shed. Fed the birds in our garden.
2100 to 220 Badger hide on my own - one badger from 2130 for 25 minutes. Very windy and sleeting.

Mon 20th Nov
0830 Blue tit spent much of the morning in the sparrow gallery on the shed. Looks promising for next spring as long as the wasps stay away.
1100 Fed the birds at the grebe car park - there was hardly any food left.
1430 Checked the otter holts near Street of Kincardine. The only one above water was at NH ****** which is 13 metres upstream from where a stream enters the river near a gate across the track.
1515 Checked the Knoc badger sett. Lots of activity - several piles of discarded bedding, lots of active tunnels and six latrines - 2 of which were single dung-pits but the other 4 were multiples.

1530 Did the goldeneye count - one brown-head seen.

Mon 20th Nov
0830 Blue tit spent much of the morning in the sparrow gallery on the shed. Looks promising for next spring as long as the wasps stay away.
1100 Fed the birds at the grebe car park - there was hardly any food left.
1430 Checked the otter holts near Street of Kincardine. The only one above water was at NH 9427 1765 which is 13 metres upstream from where the stream enters the river near a gate across the track.
1515 Checked the Knoc badger sett. Lots of activity - several piles of discarded bedding, lots of active tunnels and six latrines - 2 of which were single dung-pits but the other 4 were multiples.

1530 Did the goldeneye count - one brown-head seen.

Weds/Thurs 22/23 Nov. I represented the SWT at RSWT AGM in Nuneaton. I long journey but a very useful exercise.

Fri 24th Nov. Scottish Badgers rehab meeting in Perth. Colin Seddon from Secret World gave us a very useful presentation on badger rehabilitation which was followed by a discussion. Eddie Palmer and Roger Cottis will work on a document which will pull together the ideas and advice from all sources. The document will form the basis of a standard for best practise for badger rehab in Scotland.

2000 I went to the badger hide on my own for an hour. I put out lots of food but no badgers were seen.

2130 Wrote a report on my Nuneaton trip.

Sat 25th Nov Fed all the birds in our garden and at the grebe car park.

Sun 26th Nov
2000 to 2115 Badger Hide on my own. No badgers seen

Mon 27th Nov
2000 to 2115 Badger Hide on my own. One badgers seen

Tues 28th Nov
Worked on our Belarus and Borneo presentation.
2100 to 2215 Badger Hide on my own. One badger.

Weds 29th Nov
1100 Wrote my response to the Scottish Executive snaring consultation. If you think, as I do, that snares should be banned please send in your own response in your own words before the deadline 28th Feb 2007

2215 to 2330 Badger Hide on my own. No badgers.

Thurs 30th Nov
0930 To the badger hide to check the sett. There is a good deal of new excavation at the tunnels close to the hide and several small bundles of bedding that didn't quite make it into the tunnels.

December 2006
4th Dec
1000 Scottish Badgers Training meeting in Perth
2015 I went to the badger hide on my own. No badgers by 2130 so I walked to the Knoc sett where I saw one badger.

5th Dec
1300 Topped up the food at the grebe car park, our garden and the community garden.

6th Dec
1030 SWT Council meeting in Edinburgh, then headed for Edinburgh airport for our two weeks trip to Guyana, really looking forward to spending time in the jungle and finding lots of wildlife.
22nd Dec Got home two days late from our trip to Guyana. Apart from three days at Karanambu with Diane McTurk and the giant river otters it was a very disappointing trip - glad to be home.

23rd Dec Fed the birds in our garden and at the grebe car park.

25th Dec Cleaned out the badger hide and removed a goldeneye box for repair. The badgers do seem to be there, judging from the frost-free tunnels with frost everywhere else.
1715 Went to hide. Set up camera. No badgers while I was there.

26th Dec
1000 Repaired a goldeneye box and the big seed feeder.
1845 Badger hide. Several badger pics on the camera from last night at 2125, 2230, midnight, 0200 and 0500. No badgers while I was there.

27th Dec
1000 Started building a new goldeneye box.
2015 to 2145 at the badger hide. No badgers seen but there were badgers on and off from 2052 to 0500 on the camera.

28th Dec Finished the goldeneye box.
1400 Bea and I went to the hide and took a ladder to have a close look at the pine marten nest box in the big tree. There were the remains of pine marten droppings on the roof of the box and when I removed the lid I found a small amount of sheep's wool and some pine marten hairs inside.
2015 to 2100 at the badger hide. No badgers seen and the camera only recorded a badger at 0200 last night. Much of the dog food, badger food and peanuts that I left last night were still there but, as with previous evenings, the peanut butter and chocolate spread sandwiches had been removed from under their protective slabs of wood.

29th Dec
2100 To the badger hide in the evening for just half an hour. I managed to dislodge the camera from its moorings but made a temporary botch. Last night it showed badgers at 2300, 0345 and 0430.

30th Dec
1100 Grebe Car Park - a squirrel came looking for apples and hazelnuts which I had failed to top up. It sniffed at the peanuts and seeds and went away in disgust. I also saw a robin (I think that's a first) a coal tit and a great tit.
1130 I stood under Boat of Garten Bridge for twenty minutes hoping to see goldeneye ducks but no luck. However, there were otter prints in the sand.
1445 Replaced the missing apples and hazelnuts at the grebe car park
1500 Filled the feeders at the community garden
1515 Refixed the camera at the badger hide and put out more food for tonight. Only two visits by the badger last night - 0245 and 0430.

31st Dec
1530 Checked the camera at the hide - two visits by badgers last night at 0030 and at 0545.

And that completes the work for 2006. It's been a pretty good one.