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John's Mammals 2016 (1 Viewer)

MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
A nice local brown hare recently

Mark
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
I've got a bit behind on photos due to the air show season, sorry about that: it occurs to me belatedly that by waiting to put up accounts till I have pix I'm giving out news late - what do you guys think? Accounts and pix separately, or are you content to wait? I don't want anyone missing out because of late news.

Anyway, last weekend Maz and I had a couple of days in the South West. We kicked off with a visit to the Devon Beavers as Maz had never seen them, then scooted across to Buckfastleigh for Greater Horseshoe Bats (and only caught the end of them as we had been enjoying the Beavers) and finished the evening by driving to Porthgwarra to be ready for a seawatch on Saturday morning.

Last time I visited the European Beavers I saw a very heavily pregnant female. Since then she has produced two kits and we saw all three animals. First out was a quite large kit that was properly suspicious of the several watchers but foraged near the lodge and eventually went and recovered a long green willow branch, pre-trimmed by presumably his mum, which he took from its storage position to the lodge entrance before having a gnaw. Maz was pleased and entertained, but was unprepared for the size of the female when she finally emerged: I enjoyed her exclamation of surprise.

With his parent present the big kit relaxed considerably and actually came to our bank to forage before setting off on his own upstream. The smaller kit then appeared and went to the female who paid him a little attention in between attending to her own grooming. He fed on some small lengths of root and twig till she set off upriver and then returned to the lodge.

Birds on Saturday were not quite disappointing but singles of Cory's and Balearic Shearwaters contrasted with loads of Manx. However, the cetaceans delivered with a pod of about thirty Common Dolphins, a group of four Harbour Porpoises and a couple of views of a Minke Whale! I got some very distant record shots of the dolphins near the Runnelstone. As the whale only showed twice (how do they just disappear completely in a flat calm sea?) I got no pix of it. It arched over very strongly on the second dive and I suspect it sounded properly, but how far can they go underwater?

Because this was a spontaneous weekend away, we then tried to find some accommodation in the toe-end of Cornwall and failed utterly over a couple of hours. Cornwall was full. I blame the internet: small B&Bs off the beaten track that always used to have odd days they hadn't filled now have a presence on the web and can be found easily.

With Maz's back problems there was no way she was going to endure Saturday night in the car (she informed me in no uncertain terms) so we decided on a course of desperation, driving back up to Buckfastleigh for an evening meal, a second go at the bats and a very far outside chance of getting a room at the Abbey Inn.

Miraculously, it all worked - they had a last minute cancellation just as we arrived, so we got a room. To put that in perspective, it wasn't available till literally minutes before we arrived, and within a quarter of an hour someone else came in and asked for a room. As they disappeared disappointed out of the door, the landlord asked if we felt guilty. Ha ha ha ha ha ha - no.

After dinner I disappeared myself, off to watch the Greater Horseshoes again, and following that, with no more driving to do I was able to have a few beers. The Abbey Inn does good food, stocks St Austell real ales in excellent condition and the rooms, if you can get them, are dead comfortable. We set no alarm.

Sunday we came home via Alner's Gorse, a Butterfly Conservation reserve in Dorset, and although we missed the Brown Hairstreaks I'd hoped for we had plenty of individuals of common species and an easy run home.

John

European Beaver X 5
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Saturday pix:

Common Dolphins passing the Runnelstone Buoy

Greater Horseshoe Bat X 2
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Poor tactics this weekend: ten hour seawatch at Porthgwarra yesterday for a nice 150+ Cory's Shearwaters, a couple of Balearics and a few Sooties, plus blip views of Storm Petrel (literally: small dot, seen, lost, seen, lost).

Mammal-wise a bit better: Red Fox on the final run-in to PG attempted to leap up onto one of the enclosing banks of the narrow road and fell back - landed on its feet and scuttled past my drivers side. Then a Field Vole scurried across the PG lane where the long passing place is, just above the cove.

While seawatching I didn't really expect to pick up cetaceans as the sea was significantly rough, but nonetheless got some brief views of Common Dolphins behind various seabirds I was following in the scope, and as I was leaving a couple of Grey Seals swam right into the cove.

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Had a second bash at Edible Dormice last night in the company of Tringbirder. Although we saw about ten they never really settled, in our collective opinion because a stiff breeze had got up and was rattling the leaves and branches. Nocturnal mammals in general don't seem to like wind, I suspect because the noise it produces reduces their capacity to hear predators coming.

As a result I only got one chance at pictures and the dormouse in question had a branch across its face, which didn't really improve the shots.

Funny how a small change in conditions can produce a huge change in results.

John
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
I was absolutely delighted to see and photograph my first Wild Boar Yesterday evening. Several females with young:
 

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Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Back from a bit of mammal watching in South Africa. I did quite well.
 

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Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Cheers chaps. My fourth trip to South Africa. I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't been. Very easy to do independently and very cheap at the moment.
 

MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
A quick update on recent sightings, not quite as exciting at Steve's.

Cracking Badgers in Devon
Local Common, Pygmy shrew and Yellow necked mouse and brown hares


Mark
 

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Jhanlon

Well-known member
water shrew

Haven't done much mammaling this year (both horseshoes at a hibernaculum in January was the highlight) but this water shrew, kept in a tank as a temporary exhibit during the kids' Discovery Day at Fowlmere yesterday was rather smart (and obliging as here upon its release). Thanks to Mark for the trapping (he left before we arrived).
 

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MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
A quick update on recent mammaling, a couple of bat sessions in Cambs.

Nathusius' pipistrelle, Leisler's, Brown long eared, soprano pipistrelle, Leislers, natterer's, barbastelle.

A rather rushed small mammal trapping session at Fowlmere.

Water shrew, wood mouse, yellow necked mouse, bank vole, common shrew.


Mark
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Quick update, I'll try to sort out some pix in a bit: journeying to Shetland was a bit bouncy so no cetaceans for me though there was a Minke Whale for Roy.

On here we have mostly been limited to Grey Seals and Rabbits but a Hedgehog on Unst yesterday was a juvenile out in daylight feeding frantically: have a feeling its ultimately doomed. Good photographic subject though and we did guide a couple of cars round it when it ran out in the road. Hedgehog crossing guard goes on the CV....

John
 

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