Spent the day doing the last Dormouse survey of the year , up on the Greensand Ridge near Westerham .
Given the cold nights recently , we were not expecting much , and we were not disappointed . The boxes that had Dormice in them last month , were now empty and the nesting materials were cold and damp . Their occupants probably rolled up in a ball in a natural nest , at or very near ground level , to hibernate away the worst of the Winter's weather , and hopefully emerge again next Spring . In the past , on this last survey , we have found the odd torpid - semi hibernating Dormouse in a box , but it was not to be this year .
The first survey day next May will be to do maintainance , or even replace boxes damaged by the Winter's weather , or more likely , Grey Squirrels .
In fact the only animals we came across in the boxes were three Wood Mice , keeping each other warm in the same box .
The reptile surveys have already finished , but I must admit I couldn't help but look under any refugia that we passed . No reptiles were found , and the only living thing found was a Short Tailed Field Vole , who most definately didn't want to pose for the camera . It was under one of the refugia that was being used by the Great Crested Newt the other week .
Once again today , I didn't hear/see any Winter Thrushes , but did find two Siskins , my first this year , feeding high in the Alders around a pond .
I don't know if anyone read it , but the other day I commented on Warren's blog , about finding a sheep , lying on it's back , with all four legs in the air , seemingly in a distressed state . I eventually found someone on the site and told them .
Today , I was retelling the story , when I was told that sheep , once on their back , cannot roll back to stand up , and are at risk of drowning in their own fluids , or being attacked by Corvids , their speciality being pecking their eyes out . What I should have done , was to go into the field and basically pull the animal up onto it's feet . Apparently , in the Peak District it happens quite a lot , and people just pull over and right the animal . Worth knowing I think .
Although we didn't find one today , this is a torpid Dormouse that we found in a box last year.