Remains Found this on mountainside, full of beetle wing cases,
No interactions present.
It is very difficult to say what this was, that much beetle remains makes the pellet/faeces very unstable and any shape it once had would be lost very quickly. The surrounding area may help, was it near a roosting post, a body of water, any obvious paths?
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Hi Graham, it was on a mountainside in Breacon next to a lake (Llyn y Fan Fawr). There were no roosting points/trees etc in the area. No obvious paths, sheep grazing. Raven and Red Kite overhead other than that not much else about.
Mmmm! I was hoping there was a post nearby so I could say categorically it was a merlin pellet; however, I think you can rule out bird of prey or rook pellet if it is in the middle of nowhere. Trouble is if there are no pathways it rules out the other probable culprit, badger.
Being next to a lake leaves me thinking it could be a gull pellet, were there any gulls roosting there?
Hi Graham, i have attached two more pics to show you what the areas is like. No gulls present, my dad has been there a few times and he said he has never seen gulls in the area. There is a resident Raven. The lake is high in the mountains and i do not think there are any fish in it.
What about Polecat? my handbook says they sometimes eat insects?
Thanks for your help
Thanks for the extra photos, they help put things in perspective. We can rule out bird I think as birds of prey generally, leave pellets by plucking posts etc. and the vista is empty of any prominent points. No gulls and not rook country, also the raven is unlikely to feed on beetles only.
I've had a closer look at the offending item and can see a white(ish) gelatinous matrix so I am confident we have mammal droppings, bird pellets tend to be dryer with little or no matrix holding it together.
We can rule out stoat/weasel/polecat as they are unlikely to eat beetles exclusively as in this case. Otter is out with such a lovely lake, unless it is completely devoid of fish (then you wouldn't have otter either!) no otter is going to eat beetles only with fish around.
That leaves us with badger or fox. I doubt you have badger that high on a Welsh moorland so by a process of elimination I'm going to plump for fox, have you seen any in the area?
Foxes will regularly gorge themselves on beetles, especially dung beetles. You could post this on the Invertebrate section of iSpot as well and see if anyone can identify the prey beetle species.
If you, with your local knowledge, are happy with fox then put up an identification and I'll agree with it - best choose 'It's likely to be this' though!
Lat/Lng: 51.882, -3.6907
OS grid ref: SN837217