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John's Mammals 2019

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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 15:32   #1
Farnboro John
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John's Mammals 2019

Happy New Year all!

I apologise for the late start this year, my focus was on getting organised for yesterday with Clare and Steve, and thanks to that and stunning weather - I would have described it as a balmy late September day, which ought to be impossible on 1 January - we had a really great day out.

My first mammal of the year was a Wood Mouse caught in the spotlight while I was searching for ducks or Moorhens along the brook to kick the year off straight after midnight.

The next was a Red Fox crossing an Aldershot road just after I picked Clare up at 0545 (I had been to sleep between the two sightings, honest) and then a succession of Rabbits dicing with death around the wheels of my moving car near Odiham as dawn broke.

First one, then a field with eight Roe Deer followed by another with two (and the day book-ended by a buck in velvet outside North Hide at Blashford's Ivy Lake) provided ungulate interest which was followed up by four Fallow Deer pacing quietly through Mark Ash Wood in the New Forest. It was just after this that Grey Squirrels came out with their tails up to join the list.

The last accession of 1 January to 2019's mammal list was a Common Seal bobbing in the sea off Pennington Marshes, though the last individual of the day was Big Whitey who was sitting on the path waiting to be fed when Marion opened the door preparatory to her last smoke of the day just before 2200.

We had a big bunch of birds too - 106 spp in fact, listed in the Birdforum joint list up in Birds and Birding. Hopefully the year will continue as well!

I look forward to seeing everyone else's accounts, anecdotes, directions and musings as we go along. All welcome!

John
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Old Wednesday 2nd January 2019, 16:00   #2
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Hi John and happy New Year. Just come back from an evening stroll with the pup. Had a couple of Muntjacs and some brown hares. (In Norfolk atm)

Rich
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Old Monday 7th January 2019, 15:31   #3
Farnboro John
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Hi John and happy New Year. Just come back from an evening stroll with the pup. Had a couple of Muntjacs and some brown hares. (In Norfolk atm)

Rich
Happy New Year to you too, Rich! Hope the pup is learning to watch without barking or otherwise spooking the game....

Clare and I had a look round Portland and Weymouth on Saturday and she gripped me off with two brief Bottlenose Dolphins at the Bill. Later we had a bit of a ratfest at Radipole where the Brown Rat population seems to be doing well, in part founded on the amounts of RSPB-sold grain chucked at ducks and scattered round benches by the public (and photographers it has to be said: though at least many of them are putting it out for birds other than the Mallards, Tufties and nasty placcy pigeons round the visitor centre.)

Bird-wise it was a good day out with Purple Sandpipers on the tip of the Bill, a Raven eating a (dead) rat down to about twenty yards, Med Gulls a-go-go, a neat winter Black-throated Diver in the harbour; Ring-necked Duck and Yellow-browed Warbler showing well at Radipole and finally decent views of the Lesser Yellowlegs at Lodmoor.

John
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Old Monday 7th January 2019, 18:47   #4
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Well I have had a slow start to the year being unwell since New Years Eve, I got my first mammals - fallow deer, muntjac, brown rat and brown hare on my aborted trip to Norfolk on Saturday. I had to work on Sunday but good job I did, it was very quiet hardly anyone in. I caught up with the resident stoat who showed very well for a few mins.

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Old Tuesday 8th January 2019, 20:54   #5
Farnboro John
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Originally Posted by MarkHows View Post
Well I have had a slow start to the year being unwell since New Years Eve, I got my first mammals - fallow deer, muntjac, brown rat and brown hare on my aborted trip to Norfolk on Saturday. I had to work on Sunday but good job I did, it was very quiet hardly anyone in. I caught up with the resident stoat who showed very well for a few mins.

Mark
Well.....! Not bad for an office day (not bad... jealous - you bet!)

I've just been watching Big Whitey deferring to Psycho out front. I wonder if I'm seeing a transfer of power? I kind of hope not. Psycho for once has a bad back leg, must have taken a bite (from Whitey?) The next few weeks are going to be interesting.

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Old Thursday 10th January 2019, 17:50   #6
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Quick-marched round Moor Green after work yesterday and picked up the local wintering Scaup for a (local only) year tick, as well as a fantastic flyby from a proper year tick Peregrine with very patchwork upperparts but immaculate adult underparts - and a Bank Vole scuttling about under the hedge. Nice view but no light for photography. Couple of Roe Deer near the New Diggings.

Fed Big Whitey later: he came closer than I've ever seen him do, and then slunk away with his chicken through the flower pots along the fronts of the neighbours' houses rather than trotting down the path in the open. Most uncharacteristic.

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Old Saturday 12th January 2019, 09:32   #7
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Lets get some pictures up for this year (I know Mark already has!), foxes first:

Big Whitey X 3

Big Whitey (right) and White Tip

Big Whitey
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Old Saturday 12th January 2019, 09:35   #8
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Brown Rats at Radipole (if anyone is struggling with this species, I recommend getting down there!):
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 16:33   #9
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Picked up a distant Brown Hare (difficult these days, or so it seems to me and my crew) at the Burgh above Arundel on Sunday towards the end of a fantastic parade along the South Coast starting with the Hume's Warbler and proceeding via the Shoreham Fort Black Redstart and Goring Gap Snow Bunting to Burpham and the Burgh where Bewick's Swans, Grey Partridges and a ringtail Hen Harrier all obliged.

Yesterday a Muntjac was feeding out of cover at work just before lunch.

In between times Big Whitey, White Tip and Psycho have all been putting in appearances and have all been photographed this year.

John
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 06:54   #10
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Slightly late catch-up photos.

This is Psycho, last summer's cub from Big Whitey and White Tip. I've grabbed a few shots of him over the months since he first appeared last Autumn but this is the first time he's hung around for a session, having learned to wait for food (at least when the elder foxes aren't there to be robbed!)

As a first winter his coat isn't as thick as those of Big Whitey and White Tip - you can compare the pix already posted - and he still has a sort of slash through it on the flanks where he scratched himself bald during the Autumn moult.

His right rear foot is held up in one picture because it is damaged, I suspect he was bitten by Big Whitey during an argument though I can't actually see a bite mark. He can put it down to stand and can walk on it but often doesn't at the moment.

John

Red Fox - Psycho X 3
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Old Tuesday 5th March 2019, 19:43   #11
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Second year running, different house though, and Pygmy Shrew on the yearlist courtesy of one running along the floor by the woodburner.
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Old Tuesday 5th March 2019, 20:27   #12
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Had a cracking morning in the Brecks recently with two otters.
A partial ermine stoat on Shetland, mountain hares on Shetland and Glenshee.

Mark
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Old Tuesday 5th March 2019, 20:39   #13
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I haven't done much locally apart from the foxes, a large Roe Deer gathering (16) and a Bank Vole that I was able to photograph - its a brave or foolish one because it was foraging on the best Adder bank I know.....

However I have been abroad and a report will be forthcoming soon.

John
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Old Wednesday 6th March 2019, 05:22   #14
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Byala, Bulgaria last week.

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Old Wednesday 6th March 2019, 15:53   #15
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Byala, Bulgaria last week.

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Looks fairly decent, big solid looking individual with a certain swagger, not sure about the seeming point to the tail tip though. Got a shot of its back end?

John
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Old Wednesday 6th March 2019, 16:42   #16
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Looks fairly decent, big solid looking individual with a certain swagger, not sure about the seeming point to the tail tip though. Got a shot of its back end?

John
Got a few mre shots but all pretty much side-on. What were you looking for?

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Old Wednesday 6th March 2019, 21:00   #17
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Got a few mre shots but all pretty much side-on. What were you looking for?

Chris
A side-on shot of the tail will pretty much do it I think. It would be nice to see another view of the tail rings, (shape and any dorsal connection)and whether the back stripe extends over the rump onto the tail (it shouldn't reach the tail).

Does look a good cat so far, though, white very limited and otherwise colours fit.

John
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Old Sunday 10th March 2019, 16:40   #18
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Photo of Bank Vole mentioned earlier in the thread.

Also pictures of a cracking buck Muntjac acting on information received confidentially at a site where both disturbance and effect on other users are issues: so contra my usual desire to share not just pix but sites, this one stays quiet. Most readers will have their own favourite Muntjac spots anyway, I hope.

Nice to see the tusks, this is normally easy on Chinese Water Deer but not so much on Muntjac.

John

Bank Vole
Muntjac buck X 4
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Old Tuesday 12th March 2019, 21:38   #19
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A trip to Shetland had a few seals, black rabbit, mountain hare and partial ermine stoat.
Stopped at Glenshee on way back had loads of mountain hares but no red deer.


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Old Tuesday 12th March 2019, 22:28   #20
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Photo of Bank Vole mentioned earlier in the thread.

Also pictures of a cracking buck Muntjac acting on information received confidentially at a site where both disturbance and effect on other users are issues: so contra my usual desire to share not just pix but sites, this one stays quiet. Most readers will have their own favourite Muntjac spots anyway, I hope.

Nice to see the tusks, this is normally easy on Chinese Water Deer but not so much on Muntjac.
Nice! To be honest, my sightings have either been very brief in the past or roadkill sadly.

Was thinking about starting a collaborative BF list (eg UK yearlist) as a separate thread ... (think it would confuse if on here, and change the parameters slightly). Would there be much interest?
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Old Wednesday 13th March 2019, 20:22   #21
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I was just thinking about a trip to see the Wild Boars in the Forest of Dean. This year seems unusual in that we can't find any clues on the Internet of any sightings. Perhaps the threat of Swine Flue reaching the UK and the continude calls for their numbers to be controlled are the reasons for this. Do you think I'm understanding the situation correctly guys?
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 09:02   #22
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I was just thinking about a trip to see the Wild Boars in the Forest of Dean. This year seems unusual in that we can't find any clues on the Internet of any sightings. Perhaps the threat of Swine Flue reaching the UK and the continude calls for their numbers to be controlled are the reasons for this. Do you think I'm understanding the situation correctly guys?
I'm heading there tomorrow for a long weekend which will include a fair bit time looking for boar. I don't have any specific gen but suspect you are right. As well as the ongoing cull, I have also seen concerns raised about certain boar becoming tame - possibly due to feeding - all of which may also contribute to a lack of info being made readily available. Anyway they are certainly still there in great number and a search online (eg 'Forest of Dean Wildlife Photography' group on Facebook) will produce plenty of recent pics, including of 'humbugs'. I'm just going to spend time in likely areas and hope for the best!
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 17:54   #23
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Those locals who are pro-boar certainly tend not to give information out generally (though they will usually help obviously genuine wildlife watchers on site) because the public will feed boars which then usually results in the Forestry Commission killing them due to the immense over-hype of their dangerousness.

At least some people there have a fair idea that the FC don't have the manpower or the gen to do any realistic culling of the population: it also seems to be the case that they still don't know to within any reasonable limits how many are present, so defining a management quota is to say the least difficult. Their spread out of the Forest is limited by them then being on farmers' land where they can be legally and relatively easily shot - and are.

IMHO the excess population should be box-trapped and released in those forests currently lacking them. For instance, in the New Forest it is constantly lamented that the ponies eat the acorns and get sick so pigs have to be released in the forest to reduce the problem. Well doh..... piglets like Haycorns.... let some boar get at them. That would also force the chavs to improve their dog husbandry, to the benefit of all (except the aforementioned chavs, but who cares?) Anyway, it won't happen as long as we have a Tory government intent on annihilating all wildlife either with horse dog and gun, or concrete and fracking.

Good luck at the weekend. I assume you have identified some places to look, if not pm me.

Cheers

John
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Old Thursday 14th March 2019, 18:33   #24
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Thank-you for the informative post John. We hope the Boars will continue to prosper. I'm sure we all agree, they certainly make a spring trip to the forest very enjoyable. Phil
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Old Sunday 17th March 2019, 16:44   #25
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Only my second sighting of an opossum. It was this morning by the garage. It had discovered and enjoyed very much the paper wasp nest that I have removed from the garage attic last fall. These photos taken from perhaps 30 feet away but it let one of us walk as close as 10 feet. It finally spooked when it heard a red-tailed hawk screeching up in the air.
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