Beech Marten Sightings

Sighting 18

Date : 09/07/21

Time : 01:25

Description : I’ve been having a bit of a lean period for Beech Marten activity in the garden this year. So far only 2 sightings and nothing at all during June, which, based on previous years, should be a good period.

I have been quite busy though and I must admit I have not very assiduous in the setting up of the camera and food.

But then a couple of nights ago I recorded this.

Wow oh Wow. Double Beech Marten. A Pair. This is a first for me.

They’ve had a good look around the hedgehog feed station and taken a drink from the water dish before seemingly getting started and jumping off. One also very kindly walked directly passed the camera and clearly shows a very distinct missing chunk of fur on its tale.

They both seem of a similar size which is interesting. Beech Martens are solitary except for family groups, typically Mothers with Kits, or mating pairs. A Kit from this year would I think look smaller than the adult and a Kit from last year would now be independent. Therefore I’m assuming from the sizes that this is a mating pair.

I’ve read that mating happens between June-August, so this would also fit. The gestation period for a female lasts up to 9 months, so if they are mating it is for kits that would be born next spring.

An absolutely fantastic sighting, the jam sandwiches are going back in the garden and I’ll see if I can lure them back.

Sighting 17

Date : 22/05/21

Time : 01:30

Description : Seen in the corner beside the hedgehog house. Very windy night but without much rain. The camera by the hedgehog feeder/tree unfortunately wasn’t recording or else I may have had more footage.

Sighting 16

Date : 10/04/21

Time : 20:50

Description : The first Beech Marten sighting of 2021 and the first since September last year. It was a very wet night, heavy rain, and I caught a brief glimpse of the Marten actually in the neighbours garden, so technically not in my garden but I’m counting it anyway.

Because it was in the neighbours garden and the weather was so bad there is not much that can be seen on the video. It’s notable that it is just at the start of the night. At 20:50 it is only just dark, so I assume that the Marten must have stayed overnight relatively close by. As most of my footage is from the beginning or end of the night it may indicate that there is a den in the vicinity which is occasionally used by a Marten during the summer months. It is also worth noting that my first sighting of 2020 was at nearly the same time of year, last year it was the 25th April.

Sighting 15

Date : 29/09/20

Time : 05:34

Description : Two short video segments at the base of the fir tree. Marten last seen climbing up the tree, maybe leaving the garden in this way.

Analysis 01/09/20

I’ve always assumed that it is the same beech marten visiting the garden but looking back through the videos and photos perhaps this is actually not the case. I’ve seen that sometimes the marten has a bushy tip to its tail and sometimes not. The serious of photos taken from the visits in June and August illustrate this.

I have read that the beech marten tail can change during the summer to become less bushy, therefore there could be seasonal variations. However during June the visits alternated between a bushy tailed individual and the straight tailed marten. So it clearly seems to be at least two different animals.

A second conclusion from this first set of data is that the timing of the visits to the garden seem to be quite regular with a lot of visit between 04:30-05:30. I also need more data to confirm, but the straight tailed individual would seem to be visiting the garden regularly at the same time with every recorded visit around 05:00. However there are many visits were I have been unable to identify the type of tail tip.

So it looks like at least 2 different individuals visiting at quite regular times.

Sighting 14

Date : 31/08/20

Time : 05:05

Description : Taking a drink from the water dish by the base of the fir tree. Departure through the hedgehog fence hole into the neighbours garden.

Sighting 13

Date : 26/08/20

Time : 05:13

Description : Taking a drink from the water dish by the base of the fir tree. No information on the direction of arrival or departure.

Sighting 12

Date : 08/08/20

Time : 02:34

Description : Several weeks since the last sighting a new sighting. This time the beech marten arrives on the opposite side of the garden to the fir tree, heading from the house towards the back of the garden. This first footage was filmed on one of the two active garden cameras.

The second shot, taken on the second camera, was pointed towards the fir tree where the majority of the beech marten action has been recorded. The footage shows the beech marten leaving the garden and clearly using the hole in the fence used by the hedgehogs.

This second segment is logged several minutes after the first however I think this is just an error on the 2 cameras, the times are not perfectly synchronised.

The two recordings are quite brief and don’t offer a really good view. So apart from verifying the visit there is now much more that can be interpreted.

Sighting 11

Date : 29/06/20

Time : 04:39

Description : Filmed at the foot of the fir tree. Potentially leaving the garden through the hedgehog hole which is not visible on the camera.

Sighting 10

Date : 24/06/20

Time : 05:01

Description : Filmed at the foot of the fir tree during a week when we have had very hot weather, temperatures up to 35oC, the marten came in for a drink from the water dish. This was the only video or image recorded so a very fleeting visit, certainly compared with 3rd June. The marten seems to arrive from the direction of the house and also to go back the same way. In this case it didn’t enter of leave via the hole in the fence used by the hedgehogs.

Sighting 9

Date : 03/06/20

Time : 03:30

Description : Filmed at the foot of the fir tree investigating the water and food left out. I had been leaving out a jam sandwich hoping to attract the marten. The day before it was eaten by the hedgehogs. Today it was also largely eaten by the hedgehogs but there was enough left to attract the marten. This was the most complete footage I’ve taken of the marten. It stayed on and off for around 30 minutes.

I even got footage of it climbing up the fir tree.

Sighting 8

Date : 01/06/20

Time : 04:55

Description : Video taken near the fir tree, the marten is seen walking out of the garden exiting into the neighbours garden via the large hole behind the habitat pile.

Sighting 7

Date : 25/04/20

Time : 05:19

Description : The beech marten found the great tit nest box, just after the chicks had hatched and were still present on the nest. Probably attracted by the smell it came to investigate but couldn’t get into the box. Interestingly the box is very close, only a couple of metres from the house.

Sighting 6

Date : 11/11/19

Time : 05:18

Description : Around the fir tree.

Sighting 5

Date : 15/10/19

Time : 06:59

Description : Investigating the food left on the patio for the hedgehog. Entering the shot from the rear of the garden, beneath the table.

Sighting 4

Date : 10/10/19

Time : 22:56

Description : Exiting the garden in the fruit tree corner.

Sighting 3

Date : 10/08/19

Time : 05:41

Description : Around the fir tree.

Sighting 2

Date : 17/04/19

Time : 02:06

Description : Crossing the patio heading towards the fir tree.

Sighting 1

Date : 05/02/19

Time : 02:10

Description : Investigating the water left on the patio area. It seemed to enter from the fruit tree corner and exit on the fir tree corner.

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