A small mammal survey on two Langdyke reserves at Etton and Maxey came up with a surprise find.
Steve and Liz Lonsdale, who are licensed to carry out the surveys found two house mice – not the type of mouse normal found outside – alongside the allotment area at Etton’s High Meadow.
A number of wood mice were found at both reserves as well – including the one in the main picture above.
Steve explained: “The House Mice were unexpected – nowadays they are only found near grain stores or chicken farms.
“It is possible that they have been introduced into the allotment area as part of a chicken manure or other delivery.”
At High Meadow 42 Longworth ‘live traps’ were set on the evening of Saturday August 22, and checked at 12 hourly intervals until the morning of Monday August 24.
32 of the traps were set in pairs around the edge of the north-eastern meadow, and the remaining 10 in pairs around the barn and allotment. There was a reasonable capture rate of a variety of species: wood mice, field voles and common shrew but Bank voles proved elusive.
Sunday Morning: 10 Wood Mice; 1 Bank Vole
Sunday Evening: 1 Field Vole; 6 Common Shrews; 1 Pygmy Shrew
Monday Morning: 12 Wood Mice (including 2 recaptures); 2 House Mice; 12 Common Shrews (including 3 recaptures).
The high catch rates and low recapture rates indicate a good population of Wood Mice and Common Shrews.
Etton-Maxey – Saturday August29 to Monday August 31
14 Longworth ‘live traps’ were set on the Saturday , and a further 28 on that evening. The traps were checked at 12 hourly intervals until the morning of Monday August 31. The traps were set in three groups in north meadow.
Saturday Evening: 2 Field Voles;
Sunday Morning: 5 Field Voles (inc 2 recaptures); 1 Common Shrew; 9 Wood Mice
Sunday Evening 4 Field Voles (inc 3 recaptures); 3 Common Shrews (inc 1 recapture); 2 Wood Mice (inc 1 recapture);
Monday Morning: 3 Field Voles (inc 1 recapture); 6 Common Shrews (inc 1 recapture); 6 Wood Mice (inc 3 recaptures); Catch rates were marginally higher than expected, which would indicate good populations of small mammals.
Steve and Liz have been surveying for mammals (and small mammals in particular) for more than 30 years, starting in Derbyshire, where they had significant input into the Derbyshire Mammal Atlas, and for the last five years around here since we moved to Maxey.