Pine Marten in northern New Forest, 5th July 2022
As our 2022 New Forest Pine Marten fieldwork draws to a close, we've provided this brief update on the latest results.
This is a joint project between Wild New Forest, Forestry England, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and the New Forest Badger Group made possible with grant funding from Forestry England and the New Forest Trust. Background to the survey can be found here. The 2022 survey is a continuation of fieldwork that commenced in 2021, when we surveyed four areas across the south of the New Forest between Burley and Beaulieu. Further background on the survey methodology can be found here.
Using up to 30 trail cameras, four locations across the north of the New Forest were surveyed this year between early March and the end of August. Survey areas were selected based on a mix of habitat, historic records, and geographic features. Woodland coverage in the north of the New Forest is conveniently split into discrete woodland blocks, enabling unconnected areas to be surveyed.
A total of 5240 records of 12 mammal species were picked up across the four survey areas, including 91 clips of Pine Marten. This compares to 7663 records of 13 mammal species in the south of the New Forest in 2021, including 79 clips of Pine Marten (click here for a video showing the 2021 season highlights).
Analysis of the 91 clips of Pine Marten obtained this year reveals that there were concentrations in two of the survey areas. Evidence of breeding was recorded in one of these areas, with possibly two broods of young Pine Martens (kits) recorded on camera (click here for footage of kits).
The undoubted highlight for me was seeing a Pine Marten in broad daylight at 0535 hrs on 22nd June. My attention was initially caught by a cacophony of Blackbird alarm calling - I initially thought I had come across roosting Tawny Owl, but a Pine Marten broke cover and crossed the path in from of me, pausing to check me out. Of note, other daytime clips of Pine Marten are often accompanied by agitated Blackbirds, so this might be a useful indicator of a Pine Marten in the vicinity.
Juvenile Pine Martens picked up cavorting on camera in the north of the New Forest
A broad range of mustelids were recorded in the north of the Forest, with 41 clips of Stoat picked up from three areas (just two records from the south of the Forest in 2021) and two each of Polecat and Otter (no records from the south of the Forest in 2021). The species recorded most frequently was again the Grey Squirrel, with an overall total of 2631 records across the four areas.
Overview of key scarcer mustelid species, with comparison to Grey Squirrel and overall records, from each area surveyed in the northern New Forest in 2022
Stoat, one of 24 records collected from Area 1
Of the larger mammals, just three species of deer were recorded with, as expected, Fallow Deer dominating the records. Roe and Muntjac were recorded from all areas, however, the number of Muntjac was lower than recorded in the south of the Forest. Other notable records included a good mix of avian species, dominated by raptors, with frequent records of Tawny Owl, Buzzard, and Goshawk while Honey Buzzard was picked up in one area. Other interesting species caught on camera included Kingfisher, Woodcock, Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher.
Check out our YouTube channel here for a sample of some of the best video clips recorded during the 2022 survey season.