Sunday, 18 October 2020

Hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius L.) monitoring

We were privleged to be able to support PTES with carrying out the October dormice monitoring at PTES Briddlesford Woods, working to strict COVID-19 guidelines as a group of six, and as households of three groups of two. The weekend being also my only opportunity in 2020 to continue with training towards the goal of holding a dormice licence.

We enjoyed and recorded dormice nests, family groups and individual dormice.

Along with the dormice we also encountered wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) and pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus), in the dormice boxes; as well as the island speciality red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in the woodland canopy above. I also observed a red squirrel careering around the garden of our Air B&B, whilst partaking in my morning coffee.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Humming-Bird Hawk-Moth emergence, a garden wildlife encounter

Pupae 15th Aug 2020

Having found the pupae of a humming-bird hawk-moth lying on the ground behind a piece of leaning plank wood, I decided to keep it safe in the hope of catching the emergence. Deposited carefully on some dry soil, in my spare fish tank - I checked almost daily for just over a month.
Pupae in-situ 16th Aug 2020

The over-thought artificial refuge

On the 16th Sept, I noted that it had changed colour - a little concerned that it may be in the process of decay, I was relieved to find that it wriggled when I picked it up. I was also quite captivated that it's eyes were visible.

the eyes have it

Two days after the colour change, our neighbours W & J came over to watch the moth trap being opened and sorted. I opened the lid of the tank, and found that we had just missed by moments the emergence of the moth from it's coccoon.

Over the course of the day (19th Sept) I was able to watch the progress of the moth expanding into the full adult shape, before finally witnessing it's first flight.