....is partly to be responsible for the collapse of the Scottish wildcat population, rabbits being one of their main prey. Again, when we first came, we used to see wildcats occasionally, usually on the road at night. It's a long time since we've seen one though they are reported to be still around.
The decline of the wildcat has coincided with the rise in pine marten numbers, and to something we have noticed more and more: pine marten scat miles from the nearest pine, or any other sort of tree. They're beautiful animals but we've always discouraged them: they're not much fun if they set up home in your roof space and, when the cats were alive, they didn't like them.
Mink are an introduced pest. Their numbers seem to fluctuate but even one is too many. They prey on seabirds and their eggs, small mammals, fish, the local poultry and, from the way they look at us, we're also on the menu. Considerable effort has been made locally to eliminate them but this is virtually impossible.
Thank Goodness that, despite competition form mink, otter numbers seem to be holding up. While it's more difficult to see them in summer - they seem to move away from areas where there is increased human activity and, of course, there are more daylight hours in which they can operate - in winter we often see them in the bay below our house. Anyone who has sat and watched them knows what a joy it is.
We've been very privileged.