Thursday, March 22, 2012

...the neighbours are talking...

Weird things are happening.
Since starting this campaign, people living around the patch are talking to each other and sharing what they've seen. I often have people coming to my door, but now they bring twigs, pellets, pictures and stories. It is really lovely.

J has yellow-necked mice in her garden, H loves wildlife but doesn't know what any of it is called and A remembers a time when he could see all the way across to the church spire.
A wants to bake cakes and get her snazzy wellies on, K is doing some research into small mammals on the farm, J saw a fox recently and the kids on Corner Farm Drive all want to help too.

 On a walk around the farm this afternoon, K discovered a pellet at the base of a sycamore tree, which we think could be from a buzzard that regularly visits the farm. The pellet looks gross, but its contents are incredible - it is the indigestible remains of the buzzard's dinner- hair and bones from various small mammals caught in the local area.

A pellet from a bird of prey on the farm. Buzzard perhaps?

 Dissecting pellets from birds of prey is a fascinating activity and an important record of what's here.

I've found this weird introduction to the subject from Science Explosion. I can't get the chorus out of my head now!
We've been kindly lent 20 Longworth Mammal Traps, and a few neighbours are gathering tomorrow night to set them around the wild patch, and collect them for inspection on Saturday morning.
These traps are humane, which means no animals will be harmed in the process.
They are trapped inside a warm, cosy bed for the night, complete with muesli snacks.
I tell you, there are days when I wish for a human-scale Longworth trap, set with a duvet, a bottle of wine and a good book. Just shut the door and settle in for the night!

Longworth Traps

A set trap, ready for a passing mouse or vole.

We'll keep a record of what we find and give the information to the Shropshire Mammal Group.
It's shaping up for a good weekend ahead.

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