Saturday, 17 September 2011

DORMOUSE & REPTILE SURVEY FRI 16TH SEPT 2011



Yesterday, Terry Laws and I once again had the pleasure of helping Greenie (Greenie in the Wild) with the Dormouse and reptile survey on the Greensand ridge. As you can see from the first three pictures we did find some healthy looking youngsters, all of which were born since our last survey just one month ago. The boxes that contained families last month were now empty, hopefully indicating their successful 'fledging'.





The two areas surveyed produced twenty two Dormice, four adults and eighteen youngsters. The first family, recorded from the very first box, contained six babies that were hardly a week old, they will have to put on a fair bit of weight very quickly to see them survive the oncoming winter. The second family had five young who were well on the way to maturity, like the ridiculously cute family of seven bundles of energy pictured above. They and their Mum were the last family found and consisted of six males and one female.


The reptile survey produced just one Adder, a superb female who was spotted basking in a tangle of undergrowth, she stayed just long enough for us to watch her for a minute or so before sliding silently away from our prying eyes. The Slow Worm count ended with nineteen individuals seen, along with five mostly immature Common Lizards and five Grass Snakes, one of which graciously allowed me a quick picture, below. Mammals were represented by two Common Shrews and a Wood Mouse, all three proved to be faster moving than us!



The grassy meadow in the second half of the survey provided us with quite a few Small Copper butterflies, all looking pristine in the afternoon sunshine. But two of them were found to have different colourings. The one below having a much lighter area on it's forewing and the one below that was minus the copper coloured band across the rear of the hind wings. I don't know how unusual this is but the odds of finding two differing aberrations out of a maximum of ten butterflies must be quite high I should think.





All in all a great day in the good company of Greenie and Terry and more importantly a seemingly good result with the Dormice population. I'm looking forward to joining Greenie for the October survey when hopefully, we can report the successful fledging of the three families found today.

8 comments:

Bob Bushell said...

You did very well on your journey. Fantastic the pictures, but the Grass Snake took my eyes, its truly beautiful.

Wilma said...

Love the Dormice; we don't have them here in the US.

Kieron said...

Hi Phil
That is a fantastic photo of the mouse family! It must have been an enjoyable day.

Alan Pavey said...

Sounds like another good day Phil, great to see and learn about other things that are around :-)

Marianne said...

I'm not sure I can take much more Dormouse cuteness! The aberrant Small Copper is a beauty too :)

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Good to see you broadening your wildllife skills with the help of Greenie. Lovely photo's of the Dormice, very cute , as always. Nice to see you had a good day out.

chris said...

Beautiful Mice Phil, but as Dave can tell you, I do hate snake!!! Grrrr! Very nice pictures thought ;-)

brettdean said...

Nice...You are doing great jobs Phil and i appreciate your work on Reptile Survey..