Saturday 24 November 2012

No it's not a Ferret 23rd November 2012

Setting out on Friday night from Kingham for the Oxonbirders Curry night in Cowley I was just passing the entrance to Kingham railway station when a couple of small eyes in the middle of the road shone in the headlights. They looked at me and I looked at them. The headlights of the car then illuminated a mustelid, sporting greyish brown fur above but darker underneath with a black and white panda face. It was a Polecat! 

It stood in the middle of the road and hesitated before running back the way it had come into the vegetation by the road. This is only my third sighting of this ever so secretive and elusive of British mammals. All my sightings have been within a radius of five miles from my home in Kingham and the last time I saw one was quite some years ago, again by the side of the road, in the dark just before dawn. It is impossible to predict where they will turn up which makes these brief but enervating glimpses all the more special. I recall Simon King filming a couple for Springwatch that came to a reserve for a few weeks somewhere in the south of England. This was the first time he had seen them in 46 years!
Oh by the way. The curry was pretty good too!

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