Thursday, September 30, 2010

Steppingley-Woburn Road

Polecat….at last!!! It wasn’t the best view, and may not be accepted, but I’m as convinced as I can be given the evidence.

I’ve got a lot on my mind at the moment and found myself lying in bed awake in the early hours. After a while I got up and wandered around downstairs before deciding to go for a drive along my favourite stretch of road between Steppingley & Woburn. As I drove along, Rabbits jumped from the road and up onto the verge as if they’d been given an electric shock! A female Muntjac browsed on the verge and a Chinese Water Deer disappeared into the hedgerow. I drove through the Woburn Deer Park just before 4am, a surreal experience as deer loomed up out of the mist.

Just after 4.15am I was driving slowly past the entrance to Wakes End Farm when I suddenly noticed the sinuous body of a large mustelid disappearing into the long grass of the verge alongside Kingshoe Wood….just a few metres away from me. Frustratingly, I could see everything clearly…except for the head! But the size, colour (a mixture of dark & pale in the full-beam) and location all shouted out “Polecat”! The only other possibility is American Mink, but this would have appeared more uniformly dark in colour.

Over the next ¾ hour or so, I drove up and down this stretch of road a number of times, but had no further encounters with this enigmatic animal. What I did see, though, was another Muntjac and two female Fallow Deer. At one point, I had one of the Fallow Deer standing right next to the car, and continued to come across them several times during my passes, though they would usually wander slowly into the hedgerow and out of sight each time.

I remain determined to get a really good view of a Bedfordshire Polecat, including the unique bandit-mask face. Today's early morning experience was another encouragement to keep trying!


  1. Congratulations! That was a richly deserved sighting if ever one was. It's great to hear that your patience and persistence has paid off. Here's hoping for lots more like it!

    All the best


  2. Thanks so much, BWM!

    Richard has pointed out that it could be the one hybrid that we get recorded every year, so I could do with a good sighting of a face, preferably with a photo...which is asking a lot for anyone, let alone little old me!! But I will keep trying....this is obviously as good an area as any! :-) Hope you're well,