Every year we book a self catering cottage on the west coast of Scotland where we host wildlife photography tuition days for our guests. The cottage is in a beautiful remote location and has a large number of resident pine martens and also a wealth of other wildlife including Badger, Fox, Sparrowhawk and woodland birds .
The pine martens like other wildlife can be a law unto their own but generally speaking will turn up at the cottage every evening around dusk. Sometimes in mid summer this means we have the benefit of evening light.
We set up an area in the immediate surrounds of the cottage and encourage the pine martens to come in with food. They enjoy a wide variety of food from hazelnuts and raspberries to fresh eggs taken whole.
There are at least eight individuals we have identified, the adult above is one of my old favourites we call stripey. A bit of a character he is often the first to come in the evenings and though they exhibit caution and can be spooked by noise generally will come within close view of the photographer.
This summer (2018) we found the Pine martens coming in a little later than usual but staying around much longer giving us the opportunity to set up some off camera flashes and help our clients achieve some great images . To me the use of the flash helps convey the true nature of this crepuscular / nocturnal species.
Although you might imagine that wild animals would be affected by flash, these off camera set ups are subtle and the wildlife totally unphased. We of course offer tuition and help with flash and camera settings as part of the process.
This year we were particularly enchanted by the twins: two young kits who always went around together causing mischief and double trouble whilst perhaps providing some of the best images !
I am already taking bookings for next year so please get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to join us and these fabulous wild animals.Contact me at Gowild@freeuk.com