Probably my all-time favourite garden visitor is the beech marten. It is an infrequent and fleeting visitor but it is an absolutely fantastic animal that we are lucky to have coming into the garden.
It’s a close relative of the pine marten and is quite widespread in France and Europe although not in the UK, see map below, and common even in our suburban environment.
They are nocturnal eating fruit, nuts and small animals. I’m afraid they are another predator for the mice and great tits to worry about.
I started to see the marten occasionally in the garden last year. One of the reason that they are not a regular visitor is that their range is large. A single marten will occupy up to 2 square kilometres of territory and during a night it may travel several kilometres. So really the likelihood of it turning up in my very small garden is quite remote.
In a rural environment they make their dens in tree holes but here in the suburbs they are more likely to nest in lofts or building spaces. In terms of my garden nature project the goal is not to invite a pair to nest in my roof but to increase the frequency of visits and perhaps to be able to identify the individuals that come into the garden.