Pine Marten are regular visitors to us at Ceol Mor. Although we have seen them during the day time checking out the bird table, this video was shot using a night camera on the lawn outside the sitting-room. We left out a few tasty morsels, peanut butter and jam sandwiches on this occasion but they are also partial to a fresh egg.
This juvenile female sparrowhawk just rested long enough on the fence-post outside our sitting room for us to get this shot. They move through the garden and around the house so rapidly which is what makes them so deadly for small birds. We can usually tell when there is one around or possibly another predator because the bird feeders go very quiet.
The Red Poll is a finch and a regular visitor now. This is the second or third year we have seen them on the feeder. There are a pair but we have yet to catch them both on the feeder and a camera to hand, perhaps next year!
The Brambling is a similar size and shape to the Chaffinch and it is possible we may have seen this chap before and not tuned our eyes to recognize it as a Brambling. Again as for the Red Poll there are definitely a pair in the area.
This Barn Owl became a regular visitor to Ceol Mor during the day time, relatively rare for such a nocturnal creature. The reason is partly evidenced by the snow in the back ground. This Barn Owl needed to take to hunting during the day due the depth of the snow that lay on the ground for a prolonged period, meaning that prey was difficult to catch. After consulting with our local bird expert, we resorted to putting out mice for the owl. Unfortunately there is a sad end to this tale. Some months later in the summer a guest noticed the skeleton of a bird not far from where this picture was taken, which we could only assume to be the owl. It looks as though it was unable to find enough food to survive the long spell of wintry weather we had to endure in this part of the Highlands. This was in March 2018 and we are pleased to add a year later we have another barn owl visiting the Kyle in front of us and successfully catching what we assume to be voles.
Other wildlife seen from Ceol Mor
In addition we regularly see great tit, blue tit, coal tit, chaffinch, robin, blackbird, greenfinch, goldfinch, bullfinch, pied wagtail, dunnock, snipe, wren and pheasant. We often see whooper swan, curlew, buzzard, kestrel, osprey, white tailed eagle, tawny owl and swallows. Our neighbours and friends from Invercassley cottage this week installed a bird box specifically for nesting kestrels although a passing barn owl may beat them to it. Over the next few months we'll keep an eye open for new visitors.