Last night was a very exciting occasion at home. We were getting ready to call the dog inside and head upstairs to bed when we heard a screeching noise. Our first instinct was that something was wrong with one of our cats. But then we realized the sound was coming from outside…

As we approached Ayla, who was standing near one of the rain collection drums, we heard the screeching again…and saw the source.

Ayla managed to corner a marten behind the drum and it was in full panic mode. Hunt instincts took over and we couldn’t get her to listen to us for even a second. We’ve experienced the hunter instincts a bit more often than we’d like lately as Ayla also took off after a group of rabbits in one of the fields last week while we were walking. She thankfully lost them all in the tall grass but it didn’t stop me from being rather perturbed that she didn’t stop when called. Our own fault, yes indeed.

Stefan and I chased the dog and marten around the courtyard for a few minutes and the marten finally managed to scurry to safety up a few vines and into a window box.

From there it was actually quite photogenic…which was very good since we weren’t completely sure what it was. I’ve never seen one although I’ve heard about them quite a bit around here. At our old house, a few of our neighbors even had several cables in their cars chewed through by these almost innocent looking creatures. If you haven’t seen one before, they’re a bit like a ferret or a weasel. Not as scary looking as a possum but just about as friendly.

My guess is that it somehow got into the courtyard because it was after the bird eggs and baby birds which now populate the swallow nests we have around here. I am not really sure how it would get up there since they are built on the sides of ceiling beams but I read that they are rather good climbers and at one point the thing tried to run up our front door (which was thankfully closed) so I do know that they are very good climbers. I’ve actually seen a few broken egg shells on the ground lately and just assumed the birds were starting to hatch. Now I wonder if this creature has been here before and has been feasting on the babies. So perhaps Ayla was actually doing our birds a favor by chasing this…and she was simply protecting her pack? Whatever the reason, I hope this thing has been scared straight and doesn’t get any ideas about coming back. Ayla seems to be looking forward to another chase…but we are definitely not!