Being an environmental education charity, wildlife is very important to us at FSC. At Kindrogan we are extremely lucky, not only because it’s almost impossible to go anywhere on site without seeing a red squirrel but also because we regularly get pine martens visiting us! Being from the South West of England, I had never seen a pine marten before and only knew they existed from seeing them on a nature programme that was set in Scotland. When I arrived we had a small plastic hide, which I sat in a few times and watched the pine martens. However, while it was good you could only fit 2 to 3 people in it. Before Christmas this problem was solved as we got a brand new hide, kindly paid for by Jessops. The new wooden hide looks wonderful and it is so much bigger than the old one. Soon after it was installed we took some students from a school group out to look for pine martens. Even with 5 students plus 4 staff, it still felt spacious!
Pine martens are very elusive creatures, which does make them hard to spot. They are mostly extinct from England and Wales; the only place in the UK where a strong population of pine martens remains is the Scottish Highlands. The best time to see the pine martens is at dawn and dusk, or if you have a good torch when it is dark. They feed mostly on small rodents, birds, eggs, insects and fruit, though they also like peanuts which is why we put them on the log pile! At Kindrogan we have a camera filming the pine marten log pile 24 hours a day. The footage from this gets sent to an expert who is able to identify individuals. From this we know that we have one regular visitor, a female (named Squinty) and several different males have also been recorded.
The pine martens are a truly wonderful thing to see and I would recommend anyone that visits Kindrogan to have a look and try out the new hide.