Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wild Britain & Ampthill

At last….my first Field Vole of the year! Field Voles go through ups and downs over the years in terms of their population sizes, and the last few years have been pretty lean, but there are still plenty around and I finally caught up with this one tonight in the rough grassland north of Redbourne School.

It’s certainly been a small mammal day. First thing this morning, I joined Andrew Green at Wild Britain in Wilden and we checked the Longworth traps that we set yesterday evening.

We came across several Bank Voles, a juvenile Wood Mouse, and a Common Shrew, but star of the day here was this tiny Pygmy Shrew, our smallest British mammal, weighing in at a miniscule 4g. That’s a tiny maggot castor that it’s standing next to!

And this is our smallest mouse - the Harvest Mouse, though I’m cheating because this one is in a tank, part of the breeding programme that Wild Britain are undertaking with this unique species. Hopefully, I’ll come across one running wild in Bedfordshire in the next few months.

At 5am this morning, I was sitting in my car hoping that a Polecat would cross the road in front of me at a Polecat crossing-point near Steppingley. I really enjoyed the early morning sunshine whilst listening to an audiobook on my iPod, but I never did see a Polecat. The individual in this photo is Diesel, a male Ferret that came to Wild Britain last year from the Three Shires Ferret Rescue Centre. I spent ages watching Diesel and his white companion, Rocket, playing together and searching their enclosure…I can’t wait to see this kind of activity in the wild!

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