Highland Diary

Pine Marten photography

For over thirty years pine martens have been regular visitors to our garden. For all that time they have remained stubbornly nocturnal only appearing irregularly in daylight in high summer, usually to raid the squirrel feeders. The current marten clan is made up of two males, brothers that came as kits in 2018, and two females, one of which may be a sibling of the two brothers. Both the females have very similar unmarked bibs making them difficult to tell apart. One female has two kits, probably males and the other a single kit, possibly a female. Over the years I have used many different photographic setups. In an effort to get pictures of the martens climbing I recently baited a site next to the squirrel feeders low in the crown an oak. By monitoring the tree with trail camera it was possible to work out the routes through the branches that the martens were regularly taking. These days I tend to use a camera trap to get my marten pictures. I have a lidar beam trigger that can be set to fire with pinpoint accuracy taking a lot of the guesswork out of getting the animal in frame and in sharp focus. The trigger can be set to catch action that would be hard to anticipate were one sitting out at night in semi-darkness with a camera waiting for martens that might turn up at anytime.