Category Archives: Surveys

Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Stone Mine Horseshoe Hibernation Surveys

Dr Fiona Mathews and Domhnall Finch recently reviewed the data arising through the monitoring of the stone mines in Bath and Bradford-on-Avon, and specifically the hibernation counts.

Fiona and Jenny Bennett have produced the following summary for Wiltshire Bat Group members. These surveys have been supported by large number of bat workers from Wiltshire Bat Group and our friends from other bat groups – all are warmly thanked for supporting this work.

WBG supplemental_Mathews and Bennett February 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

WMG’s 5th Annual Owl Pellet Analysis Workshop

WMG is presenting it’s 5th annual owl pellet workshop to be held at Lackham College, Chippenham on Sunday 21st January 2018 9am till 1pm.

Thanks to a number of raptor workers in Wiltshire, particularly Major Nigel Lewis, Michael Groves and their colleagues, we’ve been able to analyse owl pellets from across Wiltshire, and in particular Salisbury Plain. In doing so, we’ve been able to generate a some great information regarding the distribution of some of our lesser recorded small mammals, making a greimg_7092-copyat contribution to the mammal atlas project.

The workshop is ideal for beginners and as a refresher for those who have previous experience identifying small mammal remains from owl pellets.

Refreshment will be available on the day. If you’d like to join in or would like further information, please contact Paul Wexler on paul.wexler@wiltshire.ac.uk.

 A plea to raptor workers: If you are interested in contributing owl pellet samples for these analyses (barn owl pellets generate the most data but pellets from other species add some variety!), please get in touch too. We are particularly interested in samples collected regularly from the same locations as these can yield changes in the small mammal assemblage over time. Please remember to record the bird species, a 6 figure grid reference and a date of collection for each sample, which ideally should include fresh 10-20 pellets. For further information, please contact Paul Wexler on paul.wexler@wiltshire.ac.uk.

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

 

 

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

 

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).

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.

The Mammal Society’s Help our Hedgehogs Appeal

Please follow the links below and support Mammal Society’s Hedgehog Appeal by completing their survey – when did YOU last see a Hedgehog??!

 

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Hedgehogs at a feeding station, including the unusual leucistic (pale) colour form, photographed recently near Devizes (with thanks to Derek & Michele Gard)

 

The Mammal Society needs your help to conserve our hedgehogs! Winter is nearly here and it’s time for hedgehogs to hibernate.  But how have they fared this year?  We are appealing to the public to help with a new survey that will review how many hedgehogs – dead or alive – have been spotted this year.

Hedgehogs are one of our most appealing and best loved mammals but are currently experiencing a long term decline. They are now so rare that it is easy to remember exactly when and where you last saw one, and this is valuable information that we can use to understand what we can do to help.

You can contribute to hedgehog conservation by taking the Hedgehog Watch survey, or donating to our Help our Hedgehogs appeal. All money raised will go towards hedgehog conservation by funding a hedgehog officer to identify the gaps in our knowledge currently hindering hedgehog conservation.

PTES – Living with Mammals Survey

Wherever we live in the UK, we share the green spaces around our homes and places of work with wild species.  By carefully identifying and counting the mammals that live in and around built up land, we can begin to understand – and encourage – the biodiversity on our doorstep.

Keeping track of wildlife in surveys such as Living with Mammals is essential – not only to improving the lot of our wild neighbours, but to improving our own as well.

Take a look at what you helped PTES find out in their Living with Mammals update 2015.

All you have to do is spend some time observing a chosen site, such as your garden or allotment or local churchyard or park, noting any mammals you see or the signs they leave behind. Your ‘urban’ site must be within 200 metres of a building. Jot down your sightings for eight or more weeks in the survey period (they needn’t be all together) and tell us what you see.

Take part in 2016 survey