Monday, August 2, 2010

Randall's Farm WLT, Stewartby & Ampthill

I wrote a few days ago about a small-mammal trapping session at Randall’s Farm WLT. Over two days I had the Bank Vole pictured below, a Field Vole, 5 Wood Mice, a Common Shrew and….a juvenile Brown Rat. It exploded out of the trap and jumped up and down in the plastic bag looking for a fight, by far the liveliest rodent that I’ve trapped to date!

I had several more genteel small mammals on my own local patch this morning:
Two Common Shrews, including this one in some rough vegetation along The Alameda next to the school playing field….

And two juvenile Wood Mice in the scrub alongside the Ampthill Rugby Club pitch.

My dedicated search for that all elusive Polecat sighting continues to be...well, elusive! On Saturday, whilst travelling with my wife, Carole, alongside the Woburn Abbey boundary, I drove over a dark-furred corpse which, in the rearview mirrow, showed a flash of white at the head-end. The coat colour wasn't quite right, but I thought it must be a dead Polecat. On driving right around the next traffic island and heading back up the hill (my wife, Carole, commendably uncomplaining and resigned to the inevitable) I found this:
A freshly-killed Mink. The flash of white had been the Mink’s throat patch rather than a Polecat’s facial markings!

I did come across another Polecat of sorts yesterday afternoon though:
…the Polecat Inn at Prestwood in the Chilterns, which we passed on our way home from a visit to Disraeli’s home at Hughenden!

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