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RSPB recommends five a day

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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 08:07   #1
Farnboro John
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RSPB recommends five a day

Just got my latest Nature's Home from the RSPB. I haven't read all the uneven content yet but my eye was caught by a suggestion that readers might go out and try to see five species of mammal in a day.

This immediately got me thinking: how would I do that either around my garden or locally? My instinctive reaction was "too easy" and while on reflection I maintained that belief for my local area (Red Fox, Grey Squirrel, Rabbit, Roe Deer, Muntjac, Bank Vole, Badger) for the garden it was more of a push (Red Fox, Grey Squirrel, Brown Rat and two from three of Common and Soprano Pipistrelles plus Daubenton's Bat). So maybe pitching it at five in a day wasn't a bad idea.

I also thought London wouldn't be too hard, even putting Red and Fallow Deer in parks out of bounds: Red Fox, Grey Squirrel, Rabbit, Brown Rat and down the Underground for House Mouse shouldn't stretch anyone too severely.

So how would you set about seeing five mammals easily, in a day, in your local area? Just one thing: if you are going to define your local area as East Anglia or Scotland, say so!

If you want to mention any mammal Big Days you've had in Britain, please do that as well.

John
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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 08:25   #2
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Good question. 5 isn't easy here. I guess it would be Pipistrelle, Wood Mouse, Grey Squirrel, Brown Rat and Fox. By no means do I see all of those in one day. Extending the area by c12miles would bring in easy Fallow Deer. And heading further west would add Common Dolphins and Porpoise.

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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 09:06   #3
peter.jones
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I think it is easier said than done for many of us. My species list around the garden is relatively impressive, with Wood Mouse, yellow necked Mouse, Serotine, a single Nathusius Pipistrelle! Hedgehog, fox, etc, but most of these are once a year sightings, or less. Also locally we get Stoat, Otter, Water Vole, Polecat, but you are talking 1 or 2 sightings a year if you are lucky.

I'm in Romsey / Test Valley area.

5 to be seen daily, with a walk into nearby countryside included, would be Grey Squirrel, Roe Deer, Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Serotine. Plus a good chance of Fox and Hare. Can't think of any easy local Rabbits!, or Badgers, But there must be some populations!

Local New Forest areas would presumably be easier with Grey Squirrel, Fallow, Roe and Muntjac deer, plus a few bats.

If I went professional, And included night drives in the New forest and Salisbury plain/ downs, plus some small mammal trapping, a good session with the bat detector, I'm sure 20+ would be realistic, maybe!
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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 12:20   #4
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Maybe surprising as there are so few to choose from, but 5 Reptiles/Amphibians in a day is much easier!
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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 15:52   #5
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Brown Rat, Bank Vole, Grey Squirrel and Rabbit on a brief visit to Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB this morning. And Humans. Lots and lots and lots of Humans. But a proper fifth one remains elusive, although we did hear a Shrew sp.
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Old Sunday 14th April 2019, 20:16   #6
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Brown Rat, Bank Vole, Grey Squirrel and Rabbit on a brief visit to Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB this morning. And Humans. Lots and lots and lots of Humans. But a proper fifth one remains elusive, although we did hear a Shrew sp.
Lucky you - I've lost shrew frequencies from the top of my range. I can still hear voles and mice, but not shrews. Luckily all of them rustle dry leaves.

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Old Monday 15th April 2019, 00:06   #7
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Human, Roe Deer, Rabbit, Fox is all I've managed today, within 5 km of home; and the Fox I was very lucky with (far less than daily around here).

Restricting to within 1 km of home, only Humans are really easy, then Brown Rat and Grey Squirrel fairly frequent. Also Fox (rare), Wood Mouse (common but invisible), Bank Vole (ditto) and Common Shrew (ditto) are present; Otter a rare vagrant. In summer, can add a bat or two (Pipistrelle common, Noctule & Daubenton's scarce).
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Old Monday 15th April 2019, 20:44   #8
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
Just got my latest Nature's Home from the RSPB. I haven't read all the uneven content yet but my eye was caught by a suggestion that readers might go out and try to see five species of mammal in a day.

This immediately got me thinking: how would I do that either around my garden or locally? My instinctive reaction was "too easy" and while on reflection I maintained that belief for my local area (Red Fox, Grey Squirrel, Rabbit, Roe Deer, Muntjac, Bank Vole, Badger) for the garden it was more of a push (Red Fox, Grey Squirrel, Brown Rat and two from three of Common and Soprano Pipistrelles plus Daubenton's Bat). So maybe pitching it at five in a day wasn't a bad idea.
Some of those are introduced though, so they might not count by some metrics. One concern with bats is that you'll either have to get a good view at the roost, or be (with) a bat "ringer", or carry a detector, or be very skilled/lucky with a good camera. Two of those options are expensive and the other ones depend on luck or inside knowledge. So that's not very likely to be doable for most people.
In my experience, the best I got in one day was seven species. I only count seen/heard live animals, though, otherwise my list would be much higher.
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Old Monday 15th April 2019, 21:34   #9
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In my village Water Vole is pretty reliable in spring as is Natterers Bat. Rat in the garden and roe deer and hare in the fields. Rabbit and grey squirrel are simple too, as is pip sp and foxes constantly dig in my garden. I think 5 a day would be a doddle with little effort. I think 10 shouldn’t be too hard either tbh with Badger, otter and the smaller mustelids common enough. 15 perhaps with a bat detector is on the cards.
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2019, 06:59   #10
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In my village Water Vole is pretty reliable in spring as is Natterers Bat. Rat in the garden and roe deer and hare in the fields. Rabbit and grey squirrel are simple too, as is pip sp and foxes constantly dig in my garden. I think 5 a day would be a doddle with little effort. I think 10 shouldn’t be too hard either tbh with Badger, otter and the smaller mustelids common enough. 15 perhaps with a bat detector is on the cards.
Plus, if you are near the coast, Seals and Cetaceans become a possibility.

(I'm near the coast, but sightings are very sporadic here)
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2019, 21:05   #11
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My 5 a day this evening!
Common Pip, Soprano Pip, Noctule, Natterer's, and Daubenten's.
Easy with a Bat detector really.
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 15:11   #12
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Easy with a Bat detector really.
Depends on your skill or on the quality (i.e. price) of your detector, though...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspur View Post
I think 10 shouldn’t be too hard either tbh with Badger, otter and the smaller mustelids common enough.
Are mustelids just that much more common in your region, or more habituated to humans? I mean, most of the roadkill badgers I've seen were in Britain, so maybe it's the former... but I find mustelids to be rather unpredictable and difficult to see.

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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 16:35   #13
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Depends on your skill or on the quality (i.e. price) of your detector, though...


Are mustelids just that much more common in your region, or more habituated to humans? I mean, most of the roadkill badgers I've seen were in Britain, so maybe it's the former... but I find mustelids to be rather unpredictable and difficult to see.
We have a limited choice of bats, and the ones listed are genuinely easy to be sure about with nothing more than a Batbox IIID. There's a pub down the road from me where you can watch Daubenton's Bats hunting over its millpond while drinking a beer (come to that in Devon there's a pub where you can have a beer while watching Greater Horseshoe Bats emerging and Soprano Pips hunting the midges that are biting you).

Badgers and Otters are not difficult these days with a bit of travelling. Most people with an interest in mammals will know where their local setts are. I have a bunch of watchable setts along the Basingstoke Canal, that can be watched from the towpath on the other side from the Badgers.

Round us Otters are difficult - I've seen one ever - but within a couple of hours I can be at one of several hotspots that, while there are no guarantees in wildlife watching, don't fail that often.

Over Easter I'll get the notebooks out and look up some big days. I have a feeling there's a 20 in there somewhere!

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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 19:40   #14
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Today, I saw a Red Squirrel, Striped Field Mouse and a Bank Vole and "a bat" (no idea how to ID those in flight at dusk) all within the boundaries of Warsaw and I pretty much know where to go to see a Beaver and a Yellow-necked Field Mouse, while Boar is reasonably common (the Moose are unreliable and probably gone for the summer by now). So in my city, it's not that hard :) Similarly in Prague, Roe Deer, Coypu, Red Squirrel, Boar and "a bat" would be feasible (I left the city before I started looking for rodents, so I have no idea about the difficulties of those).
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Old Thursday 18th April 2019, 08:19   #15
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We are on holiday on the tip of Ardnamurchan on the west coast of Scotland. Common Seal, Grey Seal, Harbour Porpoise, Otter and an unidentified Bat would be our 5 just now. We have found Field Vole signs and Brown Rats can turn up almost anywhere on the coast. Red Deer turn up occasionally so they could pitch in too.

Back home in South Yorkshire it would be Grey Squirrel, Brown Rat, Wood Mouse, and a couple of Bats.

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Old Thursday 18th April 2019, 18:09   #16
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We are on holiday on the tip of Ardnamurchan on the west coast of Scotland. Common Seal, Grey Seal, Harbour Porpoise, Otter and an unidentified Bat would be our 5 just now. We have found Field Vole signs and Brown Rats can turn up almost anywhere on the coast. Red Deer turn up occasionally so they could pitch in too.

Back home in South Yorkshire it would be Grey Squirrel, Brown Rat, Wood Mouse, and a couple of Bats.

Lee
On Ardnamurchan you can pick up more cetaceans than just porpoise from the Point (I've seen Orca, Bottlenose, Common and White-beaked Dolphins plus Minke Whale from there) - and you really shouldn't leave without having done at least one night drive, on which you might see Pine Marten, Red Fox, Hedgehog and just possibly something even better.....

There are Roe Deer as well as Red. The road above Loch Mudle is a good place for them.

Cheers

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Old Saturday 20th April 2019, 18:43   #17
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Had a go for 5 at RSPB Leighton Moss today, ended up with 7.
Rabbit, Common Shrew, Water Shrew, Bank Vole, Red Deer, Roe Deer & Grey Squirrel.
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Old Sunday 21st April 2019, 07:51   #18
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I did a century of birds in Hampshire yesterday - only three year ticks, but good fun, although number 100 was a bit of a scramble at the end (Red Kite at my most reliable locals site). Concentrating on that I still ended up with five mammals during the day: Rabbit, Grey Squirrel, Brown Rat, Roe Deer and then my two dog foxes, Psycho and Big Whitey coming for chicken at 2200.

One annoying feature of the day was a foolish old man with a small drone who was flushing the birds off Butts Lagoon at Pennington. His wife saw me photographing him and the machine and they legged it, so they obviously knew they were doing wrong. I did set off after them but I wasn't prepared to run and they were walking too fast for me to catch up without. Spoiled their fun, anyway, stupid (insert epithet here).

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Old Sunday 21st April 2019, 12:28   #19
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A short 2.5 day to NE Poland (from Warsaw it's really close with S8 being done now) yeilds Bank Vole, Wood Mouse, Beaver, Eastern Hedgehog, Hare, Roe Deer, Elk, Racoon Dog, Pine Marten and the necessary "a bat" (likely Common Noctule).
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Old Yesterday, 18:57   #20
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Was thinking that this would be hard in normal circumstances ... was going to post as such. Not seen more than 3 mammals in any day for some months, although not spent a full day in the field birding anywhere, or been to the coast for a while. Only regular mammal has been our house Pygmy Shrew, foraging by the woodburner and into the kitchen, and Rabbits up at my place when I go there.

However, made it today! According to the RSPB I am feeling healthy and happy with my 5 a day.

First up was a different Pygmy Shrew at my old place running along the windowsill - residents/visitors in both houses! Moving some fence panels not long after I disturbed a Bank Vole, coat a nice rich russety brown, so decided to go and inspect under some corrugated sheets laid out in the field (either asbsetos or cement board - don't know which). First mammal under one was a (relatively) large long black beast - a Water Shrew! I know they can wander but the nearest water of any kind is some distance away, and a first at my place. Next was a Common Shrew, followed by a Short-tailed Field Vole. And that was it for the 8 sheets. Heard some rustling in the undergrowth throughout the day but didn't see any rabbits until near enough 7pm, when walked out to the middle of the field to see a small Rabbit, scut up, and running away. So 6 for the day in the end, with 3 shrew sps, 2 vole sps, and 1 lagomorph. Only one of each too, aside the ST Field Vole, with an amount of squeaking and another seen in the house.
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Old Yesterday, 19:43   #21
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Four for me today: Human, Red Squirrel, Grey Squirrel, Roe Deer. I don't recollect seeing any Rabbits but might have done without thinking about it, so possibly five . . .
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Old Yesterday, 21:36   #22
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My commonest mammals on my patch are (in order of ease of sighting) - Grey Squirrel, Rabbit, Roe Deer, Brown Hare, Fox & Brown Rat. Pipistrelle easy soon & there used to be good Bank & Water Voles sites that I have not tried recently. It is odd with a forty year interest in wildlife that I have never really tried mammal watching.

All the best
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