Very soon after last week’s frosts, on Tuesday evening (and despite the ice staying on the water bowl in the front garden here all day), in came one of the Lesser Horseshoe bats. After a cold spell, they usually stay in hibernation or torpor for several days before re-emerging when the weather warms up again.
Then on Thursday, December 5th, Ian McClenaghan emailed to say that he found a Red Admiral butterfly attempting to feed on some hebe in his garden on the edge of Launceston. Temperature was only 8c.
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) who run the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme (NDMP) and the National Dormouse Database (NDD) have published a new report on the numbers of dormice. While some next box site are holding their own, the general trend is down. Several reasons but here is the full report to download and read:
Seaton Valley Countryside Park is another place we should visit. While many of us remember the caravans, it is now a lovely place to walk up from the beach with a steep sided wooded valley that supports a lot of wildlife. This is from Jenny Heskett, Countryside Ranger (CORMAC) and one of our LAPWG members.
“Saturday 19th October in lovely sunshine, two volunteers and a Cormac Ranger had the first coppicing session of the season in the Seaton Valley woodlands. We carry out small areas of coppicing in the woodlands to keep the age structure of the trees varied, and allowing light onto the woodland floor making homes for the widest diversity of plants and creatures including the super cute dormouse. In line with current recommendations we coppice the woods with dormice in during autumn giving the best chance for any dormice in the area to wake up and move away; we also leave stacks of timber close to the base of hazel clumps as potential places for dormice to make their winter hibernation nests” The next session will be in Kilminorth Woods near Looe on Saturday November 16th. If anyone is interested, please use our contact details here on our website and we will pass your details onto Jenny H.
No pictures but I need to write this down somewhere before the memory fades…
On September 25th, I went up to top up the bird food trays for the smaller mammals that live around my garden. Wearing a red head torch, I often stay to watch. First in were two adult wood mice then two small juveniles appeared, scurrying around and exploring rather than feeding. The first dormouse appeared, lunging at the wood mice until only one was left. They kept to opposite sides of the tray. I then realised that a second, smaller dormouse had appeared; the wood mouse ran off as a third juvenile dormouse jumped onto the tray.
I had been aware of a large moth fluttering about my head, attracted by the light which the mice had ignored. Something large shot past my ear… it was a bat that proceeded to chase the moth around my head, several times before following the moth through the branches. It returned but too quickly for me to see if the moth had been caught. I wonder if this was a Brown Long-eared bat because it was flying through some pretty narrow spaces between the branches.
Throughout all of this, the dormouse remained on the side of the tray, eating sunflower seed kernels and taking no notice of the action!
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) have announced a new hedgerow survey underlining their importance for wildlife and connectivity through the landscape and their benefits to farming. Good hedgerows must be managed; some have been with us for a thousand years or more!