Harvest Mice, Bank Voles & Field Voles…. and Tawnies

A busy day at Yew View this week, with my first priority to see if the harvest mice were still visiting! Checking the recorded footage from the cameras, I was delighted to see that they had been regular visitors to not only the Wildlife Pond Mammal Box, but also to another Mammal Box we have some distance away! It looks like we have a bigger population that I had first hoped for! Having been in contact with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, they loved last week’s footage  and were very pleased to have this record.  They are starting up a Worcs Mammal Group and I will be working with them in the future to find out more about the population at Yew View and to find out how we can help support and increase their numbers.

Here are a couple of clips from inside the box… focus still not quite there, but better than last week!

I had placed a couple of trail cams outside of the box to see if I could capture footage of the mice coming into the box as they seemed to be coming mainly in the daytime. It was great to capture some clips which showed how tiny they are. The hole into the box is just 1.9cm  in diameter…

I really want to get some more footage of these beauties, so I decided to try to build a little feeding platform that I could set out in the reeds to see if I could attract them there. I wanted to use the Bushnell with the close up lens to monitor it. Having purchased a little wooden bird table, I set about building a simple set-up that would support the table and allow me to set the Bushnell.  I created a wooden frame with three holes drilled in at 25cm, 46cm and 60cm. These are the close-up lenses available for the Bushnell NatureView and this set up would allow me to experiment with different distances.

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I then placed it right out in the water and covered it with the reeds, hoping this will deter some of the other animals from finding it! This set-up will now be left a week and I’ll see what I get on the trail camera next week!

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It is not only the Harvest mice visiting. We are also getting voles and this week, I noticed that we had both Field and Bank voles. They are subtly different so I watched a variety of clips to try to see how I could easily tell them apart on the footage. These screen captures may help….

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Here are two clips, showing these two species…..

I will be keeping an eye out in future so I get batter at recognising these 2 species from my footage.. the tail is the biggest giveaway as colour varies quite a lot.

Another exciting piece of news is that our Tawny owl pair are showing interest in the nest box again. Last year , we hoped they would nest there after lots of interest, but they seemed to change their mind. I have adapted the box slightly this year, following advice from Dave Culley, a tawny expert. We all have our fingers crossed that we will be more successful this year!

The flood water do not show much sign of abating, with much of the site still under water. We hope that , with less rain forecast for this week, we will see levels drop next week.

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