Lochinver Pine Marten

July 5th 2021

Lochinver Pine Marten

The second episode in our mini-series of YouTube videos involves one of Assynt’s most elusive land mammals, the Pine Marten, Martes martes.

Colin Dickson was heading towards Lochinver over the River Inver bridge on 19 June 2021 at 5am. He noticed movement in one of the large trees at that spot which made him stop, get his phone out and switch the video on.

Brilliant move as he managed to film a Pine Marten climbing down, and jumping from the tree. It then took off along the stone wall, jumped down to the road verge, ran along the road and disappeared around the corner of the bridge. It looked like it was heading for the River Inver footpath.

This website’s ‘Introduction to Land Mammals of Assynt‘ page says this about Pine Marten ‘occurs throughout the parish, especially the more wooded areas, but has been seen high on Quinag; partial to peanuts and raspberry jam’! We think three of the photos attached here are all the evidence needed to prove that last phrase!

Diet

However, Pine Martens are generalist predators, and will feed on small rodents, birds, beetles, carrion, eggs and fungi. In the autumn, berries become a main part of their diet. The final photo here shows a Pine Marten scat on a bridge parapet, it was taken in October hence the obvious berries. That photo also shows the typical twisting and curling of their scats which result from how they ‘wiggle’ when defecating.

As martens are mustelids they, like otter, stoat, weasel and badger use their scats to advertise their presence. The main difference between marten and otter scats is their smell. Pine Marten is also referred to as ‘sweet marten’ as their scats have a noticeable sweet smell, while those of otter have a heavy musky smell.

So, here is the link to Colin’s video of the Pine Marten which is on our own YouTube channel, enjoy.

D. Haines

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