An update from Ed Snell, our Yorkshire Pine Marten Project Co-ordinator, on the latest pine marten goings-on in Yorkshire...
As we moved through the autumn we started to see changes in wildlife activity through our camera traps. Grey squirrels busy stashing nuts and seeds for winter, red deer and roe deer fawns becoming much more active as they mature, and wood mice appear as busy as ever (it’s not unusual for a single wood mouse to appear well over 100 times on a single camera over a month!). Observing the life-cycles of the North York Moors' well-known wildlife is fascinating, but every now and then we pick up something a bit different on our cameras.
Since August, one of our monitoring locations has picked up repeated visits from a male pine marten, nicknamed Brian. See the two most recent clips below.
He's been named Brian after retired Forestry Commission Ecologist Brian Walker, who spent 27 years searching for pine marten on the North York Moors before camera traps became readily available. He was convinced they were here and had several 'nearly' moments - so it seems fitting that the first marten we've found is named after him in recognition of his efforts. Brian (the ecologist, not the marten) was extremely helpful and encouraging when we took up the search over 4 years ago.
Brian has graced our cameras with some great footage in recent months. In the first clip we’ve got really clear views of him as he zig-zags across the field of view, and in the second clip we can see him scent marking.
So how do we know this is the same pine marten? Each pine marten has a uniquely shaped yellow bib marking running from their neck to front legs. Comparing the two video clips closely, it’s clear that this bib marking is identical.
The scent-marking video clip is an exciting find for us, as it suggests we’ve found a spot within the home range of this pine marten. This raises many questions for the future, and at the forefront of our minds is whether we may find any female pine marten nearby. Stay tuned in the coming months as we hope to see more of Brian; we’ll post any updates here and on our social media pages first.
The video below contains some of our favourite clips from our camera traps on the North York Moors over Autumn this year, including a charismatic jay and some energetic fawns.
Bonus fungi content! Anyone that ventured off the forest tracks on the Moors over September and October will have noticed a bumper crop of fungi in all shapes and sizes. The warm, damp conditions in the forest have created blankets of fungus in some areas. Here’s a few photos snapped by our Yorkshire Pine Marten Project team. We’re no fungi experts, so if you can identify the species, let us know!
Ed Snell – Yorkshire Pine Marten Project - Coordinator