Chatou Nature Update – 07/06/20

Weather : Very warm and sunny for the first half of the week followed by a dramatic change to cooler weather with some heavy rain showers.

Notes : A very busy week in the garden with the clear highlight being some new sightings of my all-time favourite garden visitor, the Beech Marten. A big event as my last sighting was the attack on the great tit nest box back in April.

The beech marten first showed up this week with a fleeting visit during the night of the 1st June. I then thought I would try and entice it back by leaving out some suitable food on a couple of nights, I opted for a cut up jam sandwich.

Excellent news arrived on the night of the 3rd June when I had a very long visit from a marten during which I recorded all of the videos below, starting with this one.

Actually by this stage most of the food had already been eaten by the hedgehogs but the marten is finding something to eat and also takes a drink from the water dish. It bounced around for a little longer before deciding to go up the tree.

Although the beech marten spends more time on the ground than it’s near relative the pine marten, the video shows what fantastic climbers they are.

A few minutes later the marten appeared again, spent a little longer hunting around before finally leaving the garden through the small hole I have made in the fence for the hedgehogs.

In total the marten was present for around 30 minutes which represents by far my longest ever recorded visit.

Apparently the way to identify martens is via the white/cream bib that they have on their front. Different individuals can have slightly different markings and spots. I took a couple of snapshots from the videos to try and see if I could make out any distinguishing features.

The image quality is pretty low but I can’t make out any markings on these photos. Perhaps the distinguishing feature in this case is a total absence of markings!

As I’m now building quite a record of beech marten sightings I’ve made a page on the website to record them as they happen and also to provide some general information on these fantastic animals. All of this can be found at the following link.

Beech Marten

I will keep it updated with any new sightings and any individuals I may be able to identify.

The Jam sandwich food I left out for the marten was also much appreciated by the hedgehogs, provoking some interesting courtship behaviour between a pair. I also had my first real visit to the box this week where one of the hedgehogs seemed to be measuring it up for size.

I’ve added all the info, videos and pictures from the week to the hedgehog Log so please have a look for all the news.

Hedgehog Log – 2020

Finally I can confirm that the mice are still in the garden and therefore successfully evading the cats and other predators. They seem to have permanently set themselves up under the hedgehog house.

So that is all for the week. A mammal heavy update after all the weeks of bird activity.

As always thanks for following and the next blog post will be next Sunday.

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