It’s been a terrific few weeks for bird sightings, which has continued with the sightings of at least 4 Ruff and juvenile Kingfishers at the Lurgies. However, one species of mammal which we have been seeing regularly from the Visitor Centre is the Stoat.
A member of the weasel family, a number of juvenile stoats, or ‘kits’ have been seen playing around our dipping pond, much to the delight of our visitors.
However, as adorable as they are, the stoats also do an important job for us. We’ve often had issues with rabbits burrowing around and causing damage to areas such as the Sand Martin wall and the wildflower meadow. Even though Eurasian Wild Rabbits can be around five times bigger, the stoat is their natural predator, and can control their numbers. Also, since there are no ground-nesting birds around the Visitor Centre, they don’t threaten the eggs of these species.
Stoats can potentially be seen all year round at the Basin. In winter, their fur is ‘in ermine’, which means they are completely white, except from their black tail which they retain at all times.
Don’t forget about our ‘Wild about the Basin’ event this Wednesday. This week’s theme is Mud, Glorious Mud!