I was the only person available to do the Dormouse/Reptile survey up on the Greensand Ridge today , so Carol came along to help with the recording , which was a great help . I use the word Dormouse loosely , as at this time of year , many of the boxes are in fact homes to Tit families . Of the 50 boxes at the first site , 23 were occupied by Blue Tits , with eggs in some , newly hatch youngsters in others , whereas , one of four Great Tit nest found , had young with first feathers coming through . Also found was a single Wren's nest , but no sign of any Marsh Tit nests in their usual area , where springs keep things damp . Another nest found , but not in one of the boxes , was a large stick construction , in the same tree where we disturbed a Common Buzzard when we last did the survey . Whilst there , we could hear the birds calling over the fields beyond the woods , but never sighted any of them . Will have to visit the area again soon . Also in another area , I heard a very strange repeated call that I couldn't identify , but later heard a Tawny Owl calling from the same area , and wondered if the earlier call had been a youngster . Despite all the bird interest in the boxes , the very first box opened had this portly male asleep inside , and , very close to the Common Buzzard's nest , some fresh Hazel leaves in this box , hid these two others , oblivious to anything happening , in their torpid state . They turned out to be a male and a female , both weighing 13 gms. , so this box just might support a family in a short while , if we are lucky . The wetter parts of the site also had large drifts of Ransoms or Wild Garlic-Allium ursinum , in full flower , and with the Dogs Mercury-Mercurialis perennis , the woodland floor was completely carpeted . Still no sign of the Scarlet Elf Cup and I don't think it will show now that the weather is warming up . Two fungi , both of the Polyporus family that were found , were P. squamosus-Dryad's Saddle or Scaly Polypore , specimens of which can grow to up to 60cms. across , and the chestnut coloured P. badius .
The second site of 20 boxes produced 7 Blue Tit nests , 4 Great Tit nests , 1 Wren nest and one Wood Mouse nest without an occupant . Just a single 'overnight' Dormouse nest was found .
I know Reptiles were included in this survey , but , from 35 pairs of refugia turned today , just one juvenile Slow Worm and one large , probable female Grass Snake , was all that was recorded . We felt the heat walking around , and I'm sure the reptiles did too . The corrugated tin squares were hot enough to cook an egg on , so nothing would want to lay under them . As we finished the survey , the cloud rolled in , and the sun wasn't seen again .
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