Earlier this month, Sue Walker encountered a very splendid-looking False Widow Spider inside one of her dormouse boxes (near Salisbury, South Wiltshire). To our knowledge, this is the first time this species has been encountered in this way in Wiltshire – they are frequently encountered in dwellings and outbuildings. As Sue indicates, its another non-target species to look out for in bird/bat/dormouse boxes.
Bill Blumsom (Wiltshire County Spider recorder) kindly circulated some information on this species, drafted by the British Arachnological Society, to help dispel some of the myths associated with this species(and propagated by the media) . See here.
Thank you to Sue Walker and Bill Blumsom for kindly sharing this information.
Monday 26th September at 3-4:30pm or 7-8:30pm.
Submitting your records to the local environmental records centre is an important step in helping to promote and safeguard your local natural environment. Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre (WSBRC) welcomes records submitted to them via Living Record, a powerful online tool that enables you to submit your wildlife sightings, which is gathering increasing support from recorders within Wiltshire (and elsewhere in the UK).
Living Record is a straightforward-to-use recording tool but, with a little training, recorders can utilise additional features to facilitate the submission of biological records. Records can make a real difference as they form part of the big picture at local and national levels.
Wild Connections and WSBRC are joining together to offer you a series of free training session on how to use Living Record.
We are running two sessions at our head office in Elm Tree Court Devizes; an afternoon session at 3pm – 4:30pm and an evening session at 7pm – 8:30pm on Monday 26th September. To book your place please click here.
Grouse shooting for ‘sport’ depends on intensive habitat management which increases flood risk and greenhouse gas emissions, relies on killing Foxes, Stoats, Mountain Hares etc in large numbers and often leads to the deliberate illegal killing of protected birds of prey including Hen Harriers.
Driven grouse shooting uses animals for live target practice, with thousands killed every day. Native predators are killed because they eat Red Grouse. Mountain Hares are killed because they carry ticks that can spread diseases to grouse. Heather is burned to increase Red Grouse numbers for shooting. Grouse shooting is economically, ecologically and socially unnecessary. This is ‘canned hunting’.
Supported by Eduardo Gonçalves, CEO of League Against Cruel Sports, Chris Packham and Bill Oddie.
Please help by signing this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.
Further evidence published today on Mark Avery’s blog concerning the impact upon our threatened, rare, protected mammals
Please sign the blog to signal your wish to our government that you wish to see change – the petition aimed to get 100,000 signatures and as of tonight, is almost at 115,000!! Add your voice and push for change – speak up for our wildlife.
Sounds like a great day out with the ARK team in Marlborough – support their work and have a great day in doing so!
PTES are gearing up for this year’s National Dormouse Conference.
The National Dormouse Conference 2016 is your opportunity to hear the latest in hazel dormouse ecology, conservation, mitigation and monitoring. Featuring speakers from the UK and Europe, including Goedele Verbeylen, Dr Pat Morris MBE and a representative from Natural England, each day of the event has a different focus and you may purchase tickets for just one of the days or both.
Day 1 – Friday 9th September
The Friday programme is designed for ecologists, consultants and those involved professionally in hazel dormouse conservation and mitigation but may also be of interest to conservation and ecology students, woodland management professionals and dormouse monitors. Talks will cover the latest scientific research, case studies of real world conservation and mitigation programmes and deeper insight into the ecology and behaviour of these charismatic mammals.
Day 2 – Saturday 10th September
The Saturday programme is designed for dormouse monitors and National Dormouse Monitoring Programme volunteers but may also be of interest to conservation and ecology students, ecologists, consultants and conservationists. Talks will cover dormice in Europe, dormouse reintroductions, regional dormouse group case studies, woodland management and coppicing practices and historical dormouse sites around the UK.
For more information, a list of confirmed speakers and ticket booking, please visit our National Dormouse Conference 2016 page.
Apologies for the delay in posting these here (members will have received them directly at the time of publication however) but here are the minutes for the last group meeting:
2016-04-04 Wiltshire Mammal Group General Minutes
A Facebook post from ARK – Action for the River Kennet on the 6th June 2016.
Poisoned otter update – In February a young male otter was tragically discovered dead only metres from Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, Marlborough. ARK paid for a post mortem and toxicology testing confirmed the otter had been poisoned by an extremely strong rodenticide. Cardiff University Otter Project contacted us and took the body for a more detailed post mortem, the findings have contributed to their long term research into otter health.
This juvenile otter was not yet in…dependent and vegetation in his upper intestine, and lack of fat deposits, suggest he had been away from mother for some days, seeking food. It remains unclear if the otter directly ingested rat poison or ate a poisoned rodent. ARK, supported by other organisations including the Environment Agency has produced this flyer with advice on using rat bait. Please share this post to spread information and awareness.
See here: ARK Otter flyer revJune2016
Wiltshire Mammal Group is proud to support the excellent work of ARK.
Wiltshire’s mammal group and bat group have been busy producing the latest newsletters, promoting some superb projects and forthcoming work. Thank you to all members, volunteers, supporters, funders and landowners who have supported these projects!
Wiltshire Mammal Group’s latest newsletter may be found here WMG newsletter Spring 2016.
And Wiltshire Bat Group’s latest newsletter is here: WBG Newsletter 01 Spring and Summer 2016
Jonathan Scott narrates the extraordinary story of the leopard, investigating what it is about the natural history of these cats that makes them born survivors.
For those with an interest in the possibility that large, non-native felids may be present in the British countryside, this BBC documentary may be of interest.