Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Harvest Mouse!!

Ever since arriving on the Isle of Wight, in the late summer of 2011, I have been hoping to catch up with that most secretive of small mammals, the Harvest Mouse. Many wondered if it was extinct after no sightings or signs for a number of years, but these fascinating little creatures have a habit of passing 'under the radar'. Then, in the last few years, empty nests have been located at a few different places - it looks like the IOW Harvest Mouse is alive and well!

On Monday, I decided it was about time I set up the Trailcam to see if I could get some live footage. After catching the Harvest Mouse in Bedfordshire in the midst of deep bramble a few years ago (See here), I set up a feeding station in the middle of a bramble patch.

I picked up the camera early this morning....and I could have picked it up yesterday morning because the card had been filled on the first evening with 379 images of 30 seconds each!

I was not surprised to find that almost all of the images featured Wood Mice that devoured the seed. In this clip you can see 6 together!

As I neared the end of the clips I was getting to the point where I needed a break...but then reached video sequence 370:

I reckon that this is a Harvest Mouse!!! Notice the more diminutive size, flatter nose, and less obvious ears. The other option is Bank Vole, and I did wonder whether I had got a bit over-excited and too focused on Harvest Mouse, but the whole jizz seems to suggest Harvest Mouse, especially when it is sitting on its haunches and, as one friend points out, the brief view of the tail seems to suggest that it is too long for Bank Vole though, on the other hand, too short for Harvest Mouse! If it is, this is the first view of a live individual that's been seen on the Isle of Wight for a number of years. I really need to get the camera back out there and, hopefully, get some better footage.

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