Thursday, 9 October 2014

Wildlife Questions

Barbie Paterson first approached the Diary three weeks ago after she'd taken some pictures of an animal by the burn at Sanna which might have been a mink or a pine marten.  Sanna isn't really pine marten country, and....

....Barbie's photographs suggest it's a mink - but what a bedraggled beast!  Normally they have a fine coat - which is why they were originally brought over to Britain from North America - but this one looks as if something rather large has chewed it up before spitting it out.

It certainly looks forlorn and sorry for itself.  Most people locally have no time for mink: they're an introduced animal, they play merry hell with both wild and domestic animals, and they're vicious.  Pity it wasn't a pine marten.

Can anyone suggest why it's in this state?

This picture was sent to us by Alison Tootal who stays in Glenborrodale.  She says, "We found this large birds nest on the ground below the tall fir tree at Sron nam Brathan corner after the gale on Monday. It is made of birch twigs, seaweed, blue nylon string and white plastic parcel tape and lined with sheep's wool.

"I haven't a clue whose nest it is, but wonder if it's a crow or a hoodie.  It's very untidy but I think the crow family like a bit of decoration and colour.  It amused us to see the variety of materials used and the incorporation of our rubbish!"

Can anyone identify it owner?


  1. I would agree that the nest belongs to a Hooded Crow, typical structure for one.

    I would say that BP caught the mink at a bad moment hair-wise and the bedraggled look is just the result of hunting through water and wet rock, if there had been time before the shot I'm sure a quick shoogle would have restored composure. It looks to be an immature animal in which case the fur won't yet be fully 'prime' yet, however the under fur looks to be thick and dry so it is the guard hair which needs to thicken up to avoid these bad-hair days.

  2. Many thanks to Paul Elletson for passing on this comment from a correspondent: "It's a bit difficult to tell with there being no measurements given. I'd reckon that crow is a possibility as I believe they'll vary their nest building structures according to what is available. I have some photos of a nest on Malham Moor which consisted mainly of bones and rusty fencing wire."