Harvest mouse nest searches – Success!

A huge thank you to the many WMG members and friends who contributed their time and efforts to the four nest searches undertake this autumn in Coombe Bissett, Swallowcliffe, Broad Chalke and Bishopstrow, where 16, 20, 10 and 21 nests respectively were found, by 6, 6, 17 and 4 surveyors! (19 people have supported these surveys and training events).

In all cases, surveys were undertaken in areas for which we had no recent records – so, all in all, a great result. That we find harvest mice nests on all sites surveyed certainly suggests that they are widespread across Wiltshire and likely to be found in suitable habitat.

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Superb harvest mouse habitat – an abundance of nests in a buffer strip adjacent to a small watercourse (C) G Harris

Thank you to the landowners who offered a warm welcome and great interest in this work and to Simon Smart and Jemma Batten of Black Sheep Consulting for arranging access with the landowners for us.

What next? Whilst we dont plan to organise further training events this autumn we encourage you to please keep looking for harvest mouse nests – a single nest is another confirmed location so keep your eyes peeled on your country walks! Let us know what you find…….

 

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mid-November and still finding fresh green nests (C) G Harris

 

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Harvest Mouse surveys……updated plans

WMG’s last two harvest mouse nest searches will be:

Saturday 11th November – near Broadchalke, Salisbury

Saturday 18th November – near Bishopstrow, Warminster

More helpers are always welcome – If you’d like to get involved please get in touch. We are asking participants to “book” on to each event to ensure we have contact details for everyone to ensure everyone receives directions etc.

Thank you once again to Simon and Jemma from Black Sheep Consulting, arranging access to landholdings in areas where we lack recent harvest mouse records.

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harvest mouse nest in field margin, Easterton, Wiltshire (c) G Harris.

On each occasion we’ll meet at 10am; we’ll provide directions to the meeting place to those who contact us and confirm their attendance. The surveys will take 3 hours or more, depending on enthusiasm levels. Bring appropriate outdoor gear, food and drink.

No experience necessary but be prepared to walk a short distance across rough ground and to enjoy the great British autumnal weather! All training will be provided! Just bring energy and enthusiasm!

If you’d like to get involved, please email wiltshiremammalgroup-at-hotmail.co.uk (don’t reply to this website or contact us via facebook – please just email us).

More harvest mouse surveys!

It’s well known that you cant spend too much time looking for harvest mice – searching long grass doesn’t make you go cross-eyed!

The second of this season’s harvest mouse nest searches was another success, with  20 nests of varying ages found on arable farmland close to Swallowcliffe, near Tisbury in South Wiltshire; a part of the county previously lacking records. And in beautiful sunshine too!

With thanks to Lisa, Michelle, Paul, Gemma and Richard for today’s efforts – great work team! And to Perin and Sonja for making us so welcome.

The next survey event will be the 11th November 2017 in Broadchalke, South Wiltshire. If you’d like to get involved please see further information here; email us on wiltshiremammalgroup-at-hotmail.co.uk to register your interest.

 

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Harvest mouse nest, nr Swallowcliffe, S. Wiltshire (C) G. Harris

 

 

Wiltshire Bat Group meeting, 9th November 2017

The next Wiltshire Bat Group meeting will be on Thursday 9th November, 7pm at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s offices in Devizes. The meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting or getting involved in bat conservation in Wiltshire. There will be a short talk by Dr Dani Linton followed by some project updates before adjourning to a nearby pub in Devizes.

The meeting will start promptly at 7pm – please bear in mind that the meeting room is on an upstairs floor and so the front door of the building must be locked during the meeting. If you can avoid running late that would be great if – but in the event anyone is unavoidably running late, a phone number will be posted on the notice board by the door to call for you to be let in!

The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust offices, Elm Tree Court may be found off Long Street, Devizes SN10 1NJ. There will be parking available here, or nearby in town. If you’ve not been here before, allow yourself extra time to find it – the access into Elm Tree Court is easily missed.

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Noctule bat at the Big Bat Bonanza, Savernake Forest, August 2017 (c) G Harris

Harvest Mouse Surveys……..

Today, WMG completed the first of four survey events, searching for the nests of harvest mice in areas currently lacking records.

The recently-published Mammals in Wiltshire, second edition, highlighted that in recent years the harvest mouse has been very poorly recorded in Wiltshire – and yet, every targeted nest survey that we’ve undertaken has found them!

Todays survey, near Coombe Bissett, Salisbury, found 16 nests of harvest mice, including many which were still green and freshly-woven. We also recorded brown hare, roe deer, field vole nests, badger, fox, rabbit and roe deer, as well as grey partridge, linnet, skylark and stonechat.

Today’s survey produced new records for harvest mice in a part of the county previously lacking in records. A great outcome.

Thank you to Richard and Katie Jowett, Bake Farm Fruit Farm, Coombe Bissett, for the warm welcome, and to Simon Smart of Black Sheep Consulting for facilitating the visit. And, of course, the star surveyors – Simon, Lisa, Jenny, Annette and Paul.

The next survey will be on the 28th October, for more information see here. The more the merrier!

 

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harvest mouse nest (C) G Harris
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harvest mouse nest (C) G Harris

 

Volunteer at WSBRC

Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre (WSBRC) depends on volunteers for a range of activities it undertakes, not least in supplying species records. Office volunteers make a crucial contribution by supporting the day to day data management tasks WSBRC performs.

 

Without volunteers helping with data capture and checking, your records would much longer to get onto the county database and from it be available for data searches, partner updates, atlases and the many other uses biological data is put to.

We also need support for our Map the Gap project, so if you fancy learning more about habitat mapping and how to use MapInfo GIS then this might be the volunteer opportunity for you!

To find out more visit the WSBRC volunteering page.

 

Harvest mouse surveys – helpers needed! UPDATE #3!

During coming weeks Wiltshire Mammal Group, and a few of its friends, will be delivering a series of surveys for harvest mice across Wiltshire.

The recently-published Mammals in Wiltshire, second edition, highlighted that in recent years the harvest mouse has been very poorly recorded in Wiltshire – and yet, every targeted nest survey that we’ve undertaken has found them!

We are once again teaming up with Simon and Jemma from Black Sheep Consulting, identifying a series of landholdings in areas where we lack recent harvest mouse records.

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harvest mouse nest in field margin, Easterton, Wiltshire (c) G Harris.

 

We need your help please! With plenty of helpers we can cover more ground on each landholding and record more nests and, indeed, other wildlife!

The first date will be Saturday 14th October, a farm near Coombe Bissett, Salisbury.

Saturday 28th October – a farm near Swallowcliffe, Tisbury.

Saturday 11th November – near Broadchalke, Salisbury

Saturday 18th November – location to be confirmed.

On each occasion we’ll meet at 10am; we’ll provide directions to the farm and meeting place. to those who contact us and confirm their attendance. The surveys will take 3 hours or more, depending on enthusiasm levels, but the scale of the landholdings and the welcome we typically receive are very encouraging! Its worth bringing lunch and refreshments just in case. 

If you’d like to get involved please get in touch. We’ll release more detail very shortly. We’ll be asking participants to “book” on to each event to ensure we have contact details for everyone to ensure everyone receives directions etc.

No experience necessary but be prepared to walk a short distance across rough ground and to enjoy the great British autumnal weather! All training will be provided! Just bring energy and enthusiasm!

If you’d like to get involved, please email wiltshiremammalgroup-at-hotmail.co.uk (don’t reply to this website or contact us via facebook – please just email us).

Shout out to members of WBG

A shout out to members of Wiltshire Bat Group:

Many WBG members join the group by paying cash or by bank standing order (standing orders are preferred as they are easier for us to administrate!).

However, a small number of members have joined without providing any contact details (for example by setting up standing orders without telling us who they are!), or haven’t provided updated contact details if they’ve changed.

If you believe you are a member, but are not receiving regular updates and information from our Secretary, it is because we don’t have your up-to-date email address.

We have over 170 members, but only contact email addresses for around 150. If you want to get our updates via email please contact us on wiltsbgmembership-at-gmail.com, and we’ll make sure our records are updated.

Thanks! WP.

A plea for more owl pellets!

WMG’s owl pellet analysis project, run by Paul Wexler, is going spectacularly well, generating some fascinating species records for the atlas project and involving a number of folk in the analyses. Thank you to all who are participating.

We need more pellets please! If you are able to collect pellets from any owls and raptors in Wiltshire (either near breeding sites or roosts or plucking posts), we’d be grateful to receive samples, noting the bird species, a 6 figure grid reference and date of collection. Please collect a dozen or so of the freshest pellets. Please don’t disturb nesting sites during the breeding season unless you are suitably licensed or involved in specific monitoring projects – it may be possible to collect pellets from below nestboxes on the floor of buildings for example, without causing any disturbance.

For more information, please contact us – Batches of pellets can be posted to Paul Wexler c/o Wiltshire College Lackham, Lacock, nr Chippenham SN15 2NY or contact us for advice regarding storage of pellets.

Thanks. GH.

Conserving all Wiltshire & Swindon's mammals