Friday, 20 April 2012

Gibside's Wildlife

It's a busy time for much of Gibside's wildlife with birds nesting and mammals busy raising their young.  Many of these mammals are shy and elusive but you may be lucky to spot some as you walk around the woodland paths.

Roe deer does are preparing to have their new kids.  After birth these are left alone hiding in vegetation for their first few weeks with the mother visiting them occassionally through the day to feed them.

Roe deer kid 'hiding' in grass

Foxes and badgers are also busy raising their cubs in underground burrows.  Badgers are strictly nocturnal but you may be lucky and spot a fox searching for food during the day for it's hungry family.

Fox hunting during the day

If your very lucky you may see a red squirrel as we are fortunate to still have a small population here at Gibside.  These are usually encountered feeding in coniferous trees.

Red squirrel in pine tree

Other mammals present include otters on the river, stoats and weasels, hares and rabbits, and smaller mice, voles and shrews, as well as nocturnal hedgehogs and various species of bats.

Water shrew largest of the shrews and almost black in cclour

Stoat distinguished from weasel by larger size and longer black tipped tail

Please always be aware that it is a very sensitive time for all wildlife while raising young and most are afforded legal protection against disburbance while at their nest sites or dens.  If an animal or bird appears agitated and disturbed by your presence you should move away from the area quickly.  For the same reasons and in line with our policy you should always have your dog under control and on a leader at all times.

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