Given the results of the Dormouse surveys carried out this year , and the miserable , dank weather that greeted us this morning , there was little expectancy as we set off for the first site , containing 50 boxes up on the Greensand Ridge . It came as a pleasant surprise , as the fifth box produced a single male , which would equal some previous surveys . Spurred on by this , another nest was found about a third of the way round , and this contained 3 Dormice , a female and 2 males . Spirits were lifted , even if the rain showers had started again . Then another surprise , when a Wood Mouse was found , using an old Dormouse nest as it's home . I'm pretty sure , this is the first recorded this year , although they were found on a regular basis in previous years . Enough surprises for one day we thought , but no , after a fleeting glimpse of a female Roe Deer , another box produced the first Yellow-necked Mouse of the year , before another single male Dormouse , towards the end of the boxes . The Reptile survey , being done alongside the Dormouse one , was not anywhere near as exciting , as nothing was found under any of the refugia on the site , not surprising given the weather conditions .
As we headed for the second site with 20 boxes , we said that it couldn't be as good , could it ? We were only just starting , when another nest was found , containing just a single male . I say just , but this male weighed in at a massive 32 grammes , enough weight for two good sized adults , and he only had a short tail , but it obviously didn't stop him getting plenty of food . The question we then posed , was , how did he get that bulk through the small hole . Anyway , he certainly shouldn't have any trouble hibernating over the Winter with that amount of body fat . The Reptile survey still remained at '0' , until we turned a tin on the bank of a pond , and recorded an adult Grass Snake , and that turned out to be the only Reptile recorded today . Back with the Dormice , two more single males were recorded , and then on the last but one box opened , another three , once again two males and one female . These three were the most active of all that we found today , and they made a shot of all three of them very difficult . As we sexed and weighed them , we could see that two of them were 'White tips' , the ends of their tails looking as if they had been dipped in a tin of white paint . About 20% of the population are supposed to be 'White tips' , but once again , these were the first that we have recorded this year . Over the 70 boxes surveyed , 12 nests were found , 11 Dormice , plus the other two mouse species . A really satisfying day .
A few fungi that caught my eye on the way round were , Coprinus disseminatus-Fairies' Bonnets ,lots of Xylaria hypoxylon-Candle-snuff or Stag's Horn Fungus ,and amongst the roadstone in our yard , Peziza badia .
We just got back to the yard in time , as a really torrential downpour descended upon the Ridge , and with high winds , made things very , very , wet .
6 hours ago