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John's Mammals 2016

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Old Friday 21st October 2016, 22:12   #176
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A catch up of recent sightings.
Local Bat catching produced all three pipistrelles' and Daubenton's, a trip to North Wales was very productive with goats, grey seal, harbour porpoise, bottlenosed dolphin, risso's dolphin.

Locally muntjac, roe and fallow deer and red fox.

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Old Wednesday 26th October 2016, 21:21   #177
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Being Mammal Week I ran a small mammal trapping event at work to educate my colleagues, here is some of what I caught.

No prizes for identifying them

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Old Sunday 30th October 2016, 00:06   #178
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And a few more as Mammal week ends

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Old Thursday 3rd November 2016, 21:07   #179
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Feeding the foxes tonight it occurred to me I haven't said a lot about them lately. We currently have three regulars: Black Notch ("Blackie" - yes, I know, I'm sorry, it just happened), Double Top and what seems to be one of this year's cubs.

Blackie is now at least two and a half years old. He's been coming to us for almost two full years and he must at least have been a cub of the previous year: then he was slim and gangly, now he's thickset and muscly. In the course of that he's been bitten and ripped in a fight for dominance, and had what I suspect was an RTA about a year ago, since when his left hind leg has never worked properly. He can stand and walk on it but holds it up when running. He and his mate have bred both years.

He's a smart cookie. I've narrated before how he managed to think his way through communicating to me that he wanted a second chicken leg immediately so he could take both home rather than hanging around in the rain. He knows his name. He will check when pursuing one of the other foxes if I call him. He will sit still for pictures while I move around outside. He seems to get tone of voice: when I tell him that's the lot after two or three morsels, he goes straight off.

He and the other foxes also now play a sort of chess in which they all recognise that Blackie being an inveterate thief, the others need a distance advantage to grab their chicken and outrun him, so they will sit really close to the door (closer than he likes to) and then scuttle a little way when we open it.

Basically I feed him first so I can do the others' handouts while he's noshing: usually he will carry on eating but sometimes he will chase them. Sometimes if all three are around, his chasing results in his own leftovers being nicked.

What I never do (nor does Marion) is try to get him to hand feed. I'm sure I could but it would be wrong, we should keep that few yards distance.

Anyway, here are a couple of recent pictures of Blackie.

John
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Old Thursday 3rd November 2016, 21:40   #180
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And a few more as Mammal week ends

Mark
Getting that pair in the third pic in one of your small mammal traps must have been a bit of a shock ...

Bit rubbish on small mammals ... think I have some of them though. Did disturb a Common Shrew from under some wood today which was nice.
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Old Sunday 20th November 2016, 21:45   #181
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Foxes... all three turned up at once tonight - in the rain, which they tend not to normally. I managed to feed at least something to all three, though Blackie was determined to nick all of it. I didn't try for pictures, but this week I would like to nail all three in one shot. There's an ambition!

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Old Wednesday 30th November 2016, 02:03   #182
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It's this time of year that the white tail deer come out of the woods and start walking around the yard at night. Saw three last night by the street light.

They are by an order of magnitude the largest wild animals we have here but are scared to death of people fortunately, for the deer and the people.

I expect to get some daytime photos as the weather gets colder.

I actually like them around. They cut down on the need to trim my shrubs each year.
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Old Wednesday 30th November 2016, 12:10   #183
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Crazyfingers -
We have a lot of deer in our area which is more rural than suburb. They frequent the yard and seem willing to eat just about anything, especially any plant we paid for. We try to chase them but they just run, reluctantly, a few yards away and stop to look at us. Our woods are losing vegetation that is within their reach and we're noticing that our ground nesting woodland birds (Ruffed Grouse, Ovenbird) have diminished over the past five or so years. They have also been documented to eat the eggs of these birds.
A bow hunting neighbor takes out 6 a year but we can't see any difference in their numbers.
You may enjoy them while they are few but to us, gardeners and birders, they are a worse menace than dogs or cats.

Steve
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Old Wednesday 30th November 2016, 16:58   #184
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Crazyfingers -
We have a lot of deer in our area which is more rural than suburb. They frequent the yard and seem willing to eat just about anything, especially any plant we paid for. We try to chase them but they just run, reluctantly, a few yards away and stop to look at us. Our woods are losing vegetation that is within their reach and we're noticing that our ground nesting woodland birds (Ruffed Grouse, Ovenbird) have diminished over the past five or so years. They have also been documented to eat the eggs of these birds.
A bow hunting neighbor takes out 6 a year but we can't see any difference in their numbers.
You may enjoy them while they are few but to us, gardeners and birders, they are a worse menace than dogs or cats.

Steve
Makes you wonder where their normal predators are, doesn't it.....

Recent research shows that predator presence doesn't just keep a check on prey numbers, it protects habitat by forcing the prey to keep moving/keep to cover/startle more often - all of which reduce feeding pressure on favoured areas.

Human hunters don't select, hunt or kill prey in the same way so don't have the same effects on prey species, which is why culling by humans is no substitute for natural predation.

John
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Old Wednesday 30th November 2016, 17:33   #185
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The Letchworth Black Squirrels were showing well today, with at least 4 seen.

Cheers, Simon
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Old Wednesday 30th November 2016, 18:39   #186
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The Letchworth Black Squirrels were showing well today, with at least 4 seen.

Cheers, Simon
Stunning pic, Simon!

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Old Monday 5th December 2016, 17:10   #187
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Fox News:

Last night Blackie turned up alone (I know he was because he took his first bit of chicken off to the green to eat: if the others are around then he stays close in order to thieve from the others), ate his drumstick then came back - at which point Double Top turned up.

I figured the best plan was to chuck Blackie another drumstick then quickly lob one over to Double Top. However, when I threw Blackie's one, he let it land, lowered his head to it then paused and looked right at me. I realised he was waiting for me to throw one to Double Top whereupon he would run after her and steal it.

I said to him sternly: "No - you eat that one!" and held onto his mate's chicken till he started to feed - then threw it right to her. She scooped it up and ran: Blackie stayed on his own morsel.

Now I'm not for a moment suggesting he understood my actual words, but its difficult not to think he knew broadly what I meant. And I've seen him start a chase in the middle of wolfing a chicken legs before, so what did make him change his mind this time?

It's never boring!

John
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2016, 14:41   #188
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Makes you wonder where their normal predators are, doesn't it.....

Recent research shows that predator presence doesn't just keep a check on prey numbers, it protects habitat by forcing the prey to keep moving/keep to cover/startle more often - all of which reduce feeding pressure on favoured areas.

Human hunters don't select, hunt or kill prey in the same way so don't have the same effects on prey species, which is why culling by humans is no substitute for natural predation.

John
I can only guess at what predator species kept the deer populations down. It has been a long time since natural predators like mountain lions and wolves were here. I assume humans took their place over time but with population growth, gun use is not acceptable in many places locally and the deer are taking advantage of that. My only tool for control is my friend's bow.

Steve
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2016, 17:01   #189
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I can only guess at what predator species kept the deer populations down. It has been a long time since natural predators like mountain lions and wolves were here. I assume humans took their place over time but with population growth, gun use is not acceptable in many places locally and the deer are taking advantage of that. My only tool for control is my friend's bow.

Steve
I would guess that Bobcats and Coyotes will take fawns if you still have those species around. The thing is that natural predators will select the very young, the very old, the weak and the sick, and prune them constantly: whereas human hunters after either trophies or healthy meat tend to take prime breeding stock and often in insufficient numbers to control the overall population.

I sympathise with your individual problem.

John
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Old Saturday 17th December 2016, 18:28   #190
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I have been busy with work, the weather has been rubbish and I've twitched a few birds to bring my bird year list finally up to 300 (Dusky Thrush the occasion of the celebration.) Consequently the mammal front has been limited to the local foxes, which continue to dine al fresco on chicken outside my front door to the benefit of my camera; Grey Squirrels racing around the lawns at work; and the occasional yell of disapproval from Marion as a Brown Rat jogs gently across outside the back door (pity the foxes don't come there, really!)

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Old Sunday 18th December 2016, 04:22   #191
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Be sure to watch me post a 2017 mammal photo in this 2016 topic. :)

Tons of gray and red squirrels about. The grays are having fun chasing each other about. The reds are as alway just plain fiesty and though smaller than the gray will go after them it seems just to be nasty.

Lots of pairs of green eyes in my woods these nights. White tail deer are about but still not venturing into the yard in daylight that I have seen. They will be trimming my yue bushes soon. I hope they trim them nicely.

Too bad white tail deer don't favor rhotodenderons. They are out of control and could use a good chewing.
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Old Monday 19th December 2016, 15:24   #192
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The Roe Deer are getting bolder as the colder weather aproaches, most afternoons they visit the field behind our house, four is the max. count, as happened this afternoon. One of them has a problem, completely bare skin areas on both flanks and the hindneck/upper back area, plus odd black blotches and lines on the coat (see photos, one from 10 days ago). Any ideas what this can be?
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Old Monday 19th December 2016, 16:23   #193
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The Roe Deer are getting bolder as the colder weather aproaches, most afternoons they visit the field behind our house, four is the max. count, as happened this afternoon. One of them has a problem, completely bare skin areas on both flanks and the hindneck/upper back area, plus odd black blotches and lines on the coat (see photos, one from 10 days ago). Any ideas what this can be?
I'm no vet but mange is the first thought that came to me: I know both Red Foxes and Grey Squirrels suffer from it, so I assume (dangerous!) most furred mammals can.

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Old Tuesday 20th December 2016, 15:54   #194
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Thanks John, I presume this individual will have a job to survive once the winter sets in (Thinks..... I wonder if my Mother in Law could knit it a jacket, the poodles down in Annecy and Geneva have all got them...).
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Old Tuesday 20th December 2016, 20:26   #195
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Stopped off at Eelmoor Bridge this afternoon to photograph some aircraft using Farnborough Airport, and immediately noticed a couple of Bank Voles scurrying about right next to the car parking area. Although they were under tangles of twigs, one sat up for a few photos - I'll put one up when I have time to do some processing. Really nice: I haven't had much luck with small mammals this year, they've been an uphill struggle all the way.

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Old Thursday 29th December 2016, 07:44   #196
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Pretty quiet over Christmas on the mammal front (pretty decent bird wise it has to be said) - foxes in particular are off doing important fox stuff and not bothering with the chicken restaurant.

Bank Vole pix from the other week below.

John
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Old Friday 30th December 2016, 21:15   #197
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Be sure to watch me post a 2017 mammal photo in this 2016 topic. :)
For the benefit of Crazyfingers and others, thee will be a 2017 topic running - I'll set it up now. Although its still 27 hours away in England, there's always the chance someone will want to post their Japanese Weasel before I get up.....

With only one day to go I don't expect to see much more this year. I had a Brown Rat in the back garden yesterday - don't tell Marion!

I hope everyone has had a good year and look forward to the next one.

John
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Old Friday 30th December 2016, 21:25   #198
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Mammals seen at Elveden Centre Parcs 27-30th Dec

Evening.

A short break at Elveden Centre Parcs, Suffolk provided the expected Grey Squirrels, Munjac Deer but the the highlight being a stoat been seen on the 28th, 29th and today (30th). Suprisingly no rabbits were seen.

Regards and happy new year
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Old Friday 30th December 2016, 22:18   #199
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Just a quick round up, 53 species seen in the UK this year all photographed. Last couple of weeks not done much apart from visit Donna Nook for the Grey seals.

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Old Sunday 1st January 2017, 14:05   #200
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I spent a couple of days in the Peak District at the end of December. These mountain hares were seen on Howden Edge.
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