Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday 16th. September 2011

After playing host/chauffeur for best part of a week to visitors from Australia , I was really pleased to be out and about again , and already , the Dormouse/Reptile survey up on the Greensand Ridge was due . Once again , I was very pleased to have the assistance of Phil/Sharp by Nature and Terry , both of whom were out on the last survey , when 19 animals were found . The good news from that survey was that all the boxes that contained families one month ago were found empty this time , with all youngsters hopefully now finding their own ways in the big outside world . The first 50 boxes , which produced a singleton and two families , totalling 9 animals , today produced a singleton , and a very young family of a female and 6 youngsters , which were probably no older than a week old . The family were just counted and returned to their box , with the hope that the weather stays fair and gives them a chance to put enough weight on to ensure a successful hibernation . The second site , which produced 10 animals on the last survey , produced 14 animals this time . Both families found
last time had left their boxes , and two new families , one with five youngsters , well on their way to leaving home . The most entertaining  time came , when we opened a box , which I must admit very rarely contains any animals , only to have a female and 7 very boisterous youngsters jump out like
Jack-in-the-Boxes . There in fact five animals in the left hand bunch in this shot . Other mammals found during the day included one Wood Mouse and two Common Shrews , all of which managed to escape the camera .
The reptile survey didn't produce the numbers recorded last month , probably due to cooler nights , but 19 Slow Worms , 1 female Adder , 5 Grass Snakes and 5 Common Lizards , all made in into the book . Two Common Buzzards were seen at the second site , but overall , bird sightings were few .
The second site also produced 7-10 Small Copper butterflies , and amongst them were a couple of abberations of the species . The first was an individual that didn't have the copper band across the
hindwing , and a second individual that showed signs of the aberation lacticolour , with a
cream/straw area on it's forewing . The aberration didn't seem to bother a second butterfly , probably a male , trying to court it . After a few minutes , the lower specimen seemed to get fed up , and gave up . The only other interest found was this Robber Fly of the Asilidae family , which decided to eat
it's recently caught meal on Terry's binoculars , while we were sexing and weighing the 7 young Dormice .
Another good day , which hopefully means that six families will be around next season , and make next season's figures even better . Many thanks to Phil and Terry for their help and good company on a most satisfying day .


Warren Baker said...

An excellent day indeed Greenie, i'll have to look out for these SC abberations !

Alan Pavey said...

Another good variety today Greenie, nice that the numbers of Dormice were up.

Phil said...

Thanks again for another great day Greenie. Looking forward to joining you in October.