Yesterday's volunteering up on the Greensand Ridge was spent repairing horse barriers and other maintenance jobs around the yard , so no wildlife was seen . Today was much more interesting , with the second Dormouse / Reptile survey of the year . As usual , Tits were found in many of the 50 boxes on the first site . Mainly Blue Tits , found in 25 of the boxes , some still with eggs , others with newly hatched young , but many were jam packed with youngsters ready to fledge at any time . Just 3 boxes contained Great Tit nests , and all their youngsters were ready to leave too , at least 11 in this box . One box contained a Wren's nest , but no eggs in that one . I was looking forward to finding a family in the box where the Marsh Tit was making it's nest last survey , but a single dead chick was the sad result . Hopefully they will have tried again .
And yes , one Dormouse was found , in a state of torpor , but he could easily been overlooked . He was in a started but not finished probable Blue Tit nest , and had just climbed in , snuggled down under the moss and dropped off , and that was where we returned him after weighing him in at a good 16 grams . He was the only one recorded today , but another 8 of the 20 boxes at the second site were also occupied by Blue Tits .
The Reptile part if the survey , started very slowly , but was better than recent visits since the last survey . Grass Snakes were by far the most numerous , with 5 adults and 4 juveniles being recorded , with a couple of them looking almost alien with the blue membrane covering their eyes as they come up to slough .Just 3 Slow Worms were recorded , two adults and a very young juvenile . It wasn't until almost reaching the end of the survey , that the three Adders were found . A male and female looking very cosy not far from the bank of a pond . The male being the off white / black animal in the foreground . A second male , was found under a refugia less than a metre away from the courting couple . Only other interest found was a young specimen of Chicken of the Woods / Laetiporus sulphureus . Just before leaving the yard this afternoon , I spotted a head looking out of the bird box on the wall of the Warden's house , the box that the Nuthatches were interested in last year , but never raised a family there . Well , it looks like they could be using it again this year , and hopefully I will get the shots that I was hoping for last year .