Category Archives: Surveys

WMG’s 6th Annual Owl Pellet Workshop!

In its 6th year, WMG’s owl pellet analyses continue – the next owl pellet analyses workshop will be held at Lackham College, Chippenham on Sunday 20th January 2019 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 gre

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owl pellet analyses (c) Andrew Barrett

at 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.

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Harvest Mouse nest searches, autumn 2018

Its that time of year again when we can turn our attention to nest-searching for harvest mice. I’ve been out in the past week and the nests are still green (so possibly in use but much trickier to find – well camouflaged in the sward).

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Harvest Mouse, likely breeding nest, October 2018 (Salisbury Plain Training Area)                         (C) Gareth Harris

Later this month I’ll be leading two further harvest mouse nest searches in parts of the county not recently surveyed – once again, this is trying to plug gaps in knowledge and known range following the publication of the mammal atlas.  Last year we had great success, finding good numbers of nests on all sites we looked, ranging from four farmland sites (with thanks to Simon & Jemma from Black Sheep Consulting), to Langford Lakes Wiltshire Wildlife Trust reserve, and many more in between.

Confirmed dates:

Sunday 28th October, near Wilsford (between Urchfont and Upavon), meeting at 1230. (given this is the day the clocks “go back”, an earlier start seemed a little hopeful!).

Another date to be confirmed shortly.

If you’d like to join us, please email and confirm – wiltshiremammalgroup-at-hotmail.co.uk (replacing the “-at-” with the “@”).

Thanks. Gareth (county mammal recorder, Wiltshire Mammal Group).

Small mammal trapping surveys 2018

During the coming spring and summer, Wiltshire Mammal Group will be undertaking some small mammal trapping surveys at a site near to Amesbury.

WMG Members will be welcome to participate in this work and to learn how to undertake such surveys.

More details including dates will be released in due course, but in the meantime, if people are interested in participating, please let us know and express your interest to wiltshiremammalgroup-at-Hotmail.co.uk and we’ll compile a list of interested members and keep you posted.

Thanks. GH.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).