Boxes Survey at Armstrong's Wood Reserve

A big party, 23 in total,
including two car loads of students from the Penryn Campus, joined Steve
and Mary Robbins and me on a fine sunny Sunday afternoon at Armstrong's
Wood Reserve for the autumn Dormouse and bat boxes check.
 
As
regards the bats, the hanging insulated boxes continue to hold small
numbers of bats, except for the large box (and its replacement) along
the top ride through the wood, which had a colony of 104 Soprano
Pipistrelle bats breeding in the summer. Now there were something in
excess of 20 of this species left together with about 12 Noctule bats.
(The replacement box, if they ever finish using the original, had 10
Soprano Pips in it.) Last winter I also hung up some "boxes" made out of
chunks of 50mm thick polyurethane insulation panels. I've cut these
into various sizes, from about 20x30cm to 30x50cm, five in total, and
just strapped them to some of the young Ash trees in the new planting.
I've cut slots into the bottom of these with a chain saw. None of the
smaller boxes had any bats in them but one of the larger ones had a
Pipistrelle in it. Not sure which species! Cheap and cheerful homes for
bats!
Of
the more conventional  wooden boxes, of various shapes, which have been
up for 20+ years now, only one had a couple of very sluggish little
Pips in it. So rather disappointing for the trainees and the audience.
We usually get to handle more than one species on these outings.
 
As
to the Dormouse boxes, of which there are nearly 70, having checked the
first 51 boxes and only seen the occasional Wood mouse we were
delighted to find evidence of Dormouse activity in box 52 with a very
nice woven nest complete with Beech leaf ‘topping’, sadly on
transferring the box into a big plastic bag to process the contents two
Wood mice leapt out, they having presumably evicted the nests rightful
owners, who we saw in the box on a previous visit. The clearest evidence
we have seen of Wood mice taking over boxes and nests from Dormice.

Hazel Gloves Fungus (SM)

On
the return walk through the woods we were pleased to find two nice
examples of Hazel Gloves fungus (Hypocreopsis rhododendri). Unusually both
were growing on Blackthorn rather than the abundant Hazel growing close
by. While this is still regarded as a scarce species, there are now
quite a number of records for Cornwall of this BAP species and it is
proving to be more widespread than previously thought (or alternatively
was it genuinely rare 20 years ago and has spread in the last two
decades)?
 
Photo left, by Sue Morey
 
 
As usual at these events, we were plied with drinks and cakes by the ladies of LAPWG when we got back to the entrance, which is always greatly appreciated and gives a chance of a good natter with many old friends and a chance to find out something about the new faces.
Species Seen:
Soprano Pipistrelle Bats Noctule Bats Wood Mouse Hazel Gloves Fungus