Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wednesday 18th. May 2011

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 .


Phil said...

Nice shots Greenie. I've just heard that our camera box Blue Tits have hatched but not in the numbers you were recording unfortunately. Love the blue eyed Grass snake shot, very bizarre looking and of course the Dormouse. Great stuff!

Warren Baker said...

Nice set of Box dwellers there Greenie :-)

Very good repile photo's too :-)

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
How alien like, the Grass Snake's eyes.
Nice to see the bird boxes full. Let's hope they do reasonably well when they fledge.
Nice selection of photo's.
PS.Pam likes the cute Dormouse shot.

ShySongbird said...

Those boxes were positively bursting with B and G Tits Greenie! Great photos of them too. Such a shame about the Marsh Tit though.

Glad you at least found one Dormouse but hope you will improve on that next time. The reptile survey was certainly better though :)

Fingers crossed for Nuthatch photos!