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John's Mammals 2019 (1 Viewer)

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Plenty of time yet :t:

Congrats on the Leach's lifer as well!

John

Cheers John:t: I was with 2 younger birders I basically know from Twitter. Their knowledge and enthusiasm was incredible. I was for all intents and purposes the taxi driver. But then I do have a white Skoda :-O

Was going to Cornwall tomorrow as well but it’s a long way to go for Flapjacks.

Rich
 

MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
From some Recent bat surveying in Wiltshire

Mark

The Alcathoe Bat was from Bosnia not Wiltshire
 

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MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
Some more recent mammals

Mark
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Its a long time since I've done my own proper update but truth to tell I've paid so much attention to Odonata this year that I haven't chased many mammals.

However, some highlights to catch up a bit:

1 June I dropped into Woodwalton Fen ( not literally) and saw a couple of Chinese Water Deer despite it being the middle of a very hot day.

2nd I was in the New Forest after Odonata again, with Clare Dell, and we had Fallow Deer at Latchmore Brook and Bolderwood adding up to about 160 animals in all! There were some black ones in among the bunch at Latchmore Brook and a couple of white ones at Bolderwood, with several pale "menil" individuals at both sites.

I've seen Muntjac in the grounds at work on several occasions this summer: the buck only has one antler, and it appears the other one doesn't grow, its not broken off and last year's notebook records the same deficiency. Which also confirms it's the same buck.

16 July I was on Canvey Island after Southern Migrant Hawkers among other Odonata, and was lucky enough to have a Harvest Mouse run across the path right in front of my feet - a brief but excellent view!

We have had to deal with a Brown Rat infestation along the street this summer courtesy of an old couple, the chap of which is not as sharp as he once was and overfeeds the birds to a ridiculous extent. Maz went a bit crazy when no less than seven were feeding on the newly weeded shingle in our back garden. All available measures were deployed: lethal traps, poison boxes and I invested in an air rifle (every bloke should have an air rifle anyway). Other houses also put poison down in careful, wildlife-friendly (except towards rats, obviously) ways and the situation is now restored to rat-free. This is not the first time we've been through this, and like 007 I can report that the second time is easier.

7 August saw me at Hedgerley Tip for Southern Emerald Damselfly and I had a bonus close encounter with a Roebuck who stood stock still for photos before retreating calmly the way he had come.

24 August I had a massive day out with Steve and Clare, in the course of which we had 2 Grey Seals off Portland Bill and a Field Vole that bolted from the roadside verge into a field across the tarmac path on the far side of the road from Portland Obs before heading off North to Somerset for more Odonata. In the evening/night we finished with a private stakeout for Hazel Dormouse. They didn't really perform but one did visit briefly: no photos and I think only I saw it. Only I also saw a Wood Mouse just beyond the garden wall, though we all got views of the Common Toad that lives in a hole at the bottom of it. The Woodie was a year tick which is ridiculous but indicates how little time I've allocated to mammals this year.

26 August I had a wonder along the Basingstoke Canal from Crookham Wharf and a Bank Vole gave me some decent views and photo opportunities.

13 September I visited Steve in the evening to stake out his regular Hedgehog, which duly turned up but unusually didn't co-operate with photography - normally, I am told, it is quite unbothered by the attention. I did get one decent shot and had a very pleasant evening with my friends.

A couple of times this summer I've seen a Weasel at Moor Green Lakes, but on neither occasion have I managed a photo. Great to see though!

The foxes at home have been very consistent - we have had a vixen change-over, haven't seen White Tip for months so sadly I think she has come to the end of her time. The new vixen, Rip (for a hole in her right ear that I think was probably done by Psycho: Big Whitey has also acquired one) is tiny even by vixen standards, she seems only about half the size of the boys. Whitey's rear left leg is still duff and I guess always will be.

A bit of mulling over led me to a hypothesis about foxes and road traffic accidents. I've had three different foxes with a duff rear leg now and its always the left one. A possible explanation for this would be that we drive on the left, so if a fox is looking to cross the road and a car is coming on the same side as it, it will be coming from the right and the fox will clear its lane in the first half of crossing the road. This is a relatively easy judgement call and an averagely bright and fit fox will get it right or have the speed to be past the danger zone very quickly.

If, however, the car is coming from the left it will be in the more distant lane and the fox will have to cross the whole road before being safe from it. This is a more difficult judgement call and the danger period is later in the crossing, so it is more likely for the fox to get clipped, and if it survives (itself not a given) damage is most likely to be in the rear left quarter. Ergo, foxes surviving an RTA are most likely to have any disability in the rear left leg. Constructive criticism of the premise welcome.... in particular it would be interesting to hear whether people observing foxes where humans drive on the right find the reverse, that hobbling foxes mostly have a duff rear right leg.

It's obvious Mark has had a good mammal summer albeit quite a nocturnal one, hope everyone else is doing well also.

Cheers

John
 
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MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
Some recent small mammal trapping locally

Bank vole, Common shrew, Field vole, Water Shrew and wood mouse


Mark
 

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prhodes

Well-known member
We noticed this really approachable Brown Hare at the Eastern Yellow Wagtail dip yesterday. Presumably really confident in his 'laying low' abilities, to avoid predators. We did not disturb him despite being just a few meters away.
 

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MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
I have been doing some local batting recently.

Barbastelle, Leislers, BLE, Natterer's and Soprano Pip.
Also had Daubenton's as well

Mark
 

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MarkHows

Mostly Mammals

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
News from the North: I'm currently on Shetland being deafened by a smoke detector that disapproves of roasting.

On the way up we dropped in at Loch of the Lowes and had a European Beaver swim from the back of the Osprey bay right round to the hide where it then sat just below the windows stripping bark from amputated twigs and giving fantastic views, to the delight of Roy for whom it was a tick. Fallow Deer also put in an appearance but no Red Squirrels - probably snugged up out of the rain.

The following day we continued up to Aberdeen via Glen Shee where we found a couple of Mountain Hares without leaving the car (wet again). We caught the ferry to Shetland and watched from the deck till the light went, but a single unidentified fin (probably Minke Whale but unclaimable on the view) was the only mammal reward.

Sunday was our first day on Shetland and after bombing up at Tesco and dropping shopping and Maz at the house Roy and I shot down to Grutness for Semipalmated Sandpiper before briefly looking for Sibechat (no sign) and taking in the Daurian Shrike at Levenswick. News of a Bee-eater at Ollaberry had us heading North past Lerwick again in short order and as we arrived at the site we saw people looking out into the sound, where 16-20 Long-finned Pilot Whales were loitering in the middle distance. We had good scope views of these then managed to sort out the Bee-eater to round off an excellent first day.

The next morning we emerged from our gaff at Tresta to find that the Red Grouse I'd so far failed to find for a Shetland tick despite some serious searching are all on the slopes above Tresta! While watching those we also happened to find a Mountain Hare, another thing I'd made a lot of effort for on the islands (with eventual success) - but this one was just sitting in the open and we weren't even looking for it!

Today we started with an easy Red-backed Shrike and from there set off on the first Orca chase of the trip, trying for them at Bigton and Maywick before scooting further North and intercepting them successfully at Wester Quarff, where they proceeded to give us the best views I've ever had of Orca anywhere. Apparently this was "28's pod" - a known individual - consisting of eight Orcas: two adult bulls, five females and a young calf. They were hunting and in fact took out a seal some way South of us - hard to see the action but a couple of people scoping saw blood in the water and I think one of my photos shows a bull with the corpse in its jaws (not sure, haven't downloaded them yet). Once they'd finished with the unfortunate pinniped they continued towards us.

They came to within about a hundred yards travelling at the surface, then dived and didn't reappear until well past us to cause consternation in a large Eider flock near some mussel ropes. Terrific!

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Spent six hours today looking for the Snowy Owl near Ronas Hill, without success. Looking for a big white owl sounds easy till you get up there and see how big the landscape is and how much dead ground there is from any given point....

A few Mountain Hares put in welcome appearances and we had the odd Lapland Bunting and some flocks of Snow Buntings over, as well as bizarre sightings of very out-of-context Song Thrushes on peat hags near streams.

As we made our way back to the car, yesterday's pod of Orcas was reported down the road in Ronas Voe and we managed to get there in time to have more views of the No. 27 (not 28, my mistake) pod in great light from the road above the voe. Even after yesterday's acquaintance we were able to identify individual whales. Great views two days on the bounce - fantastic!

Grey and Common Seals and Rabbits made up the day's mammal total.

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Some pix from the last few days:

European Beaver X 2
Black Grouse (Greyhen)
Changeable weather after leaving Aberdeen on the ferry to Shetland
Semipalmated Sandpiper at Grutness

John
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Second part:

Long-finned Pilot Whales
Orca(s) X 2
Mountain Hare (Up on Ronas Hill massif where we spent 6 hours dipping Snowy Owl)

John
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Part the third

Orca(s) X 5 Ronas Voe after the hiking round after invisible Snowy - day saver!

John
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
No further Orca sightings for us to date. The daily diet mammal-wise is Rabbits, Grey and Common Seals in varying proportions, but today a trip South gave Roy and I decent views of Harbour Porpoises in West Voe, looking from Scatness, in addition.

Bird-wise it's not quite delivering despite seemingly hopeful weather conditions, but what may have been a new Olive-backed Pipit at Sandwick (certainly it was a lot more showy than the Hoswick individual of last week!) gave a photo-opp of sorts this morning.

John

Olive-backed Pipit
Harbour Porpoises
Goldcrest
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
More good Harbour Porpoise views yesterday near Laxfirth, along with some hauled-out Common Seals. Still no Otters, that's something we miss from Hillswick. Birding a bit uphill and best bird of the day for us only a Pied Flycatcher at Sandgarth.

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Last full day and finally connected with an adult female Otter with two youngsters in tow, just down the road near Bixter. I saw them first while out specifically searching for Otters and later Roy and I had excellent views of the family coming ashore from the voe, playing in a fresh water pool and then the mother trying to return to the voe with her offspring but finding repeatedly that one of them was determined to stay and play in the pool! She and the other juvenile came back several times and eventually the independent-minded one consented to follow his mum.

Both Grey and Common Seals were present in the sea loch and we saw rabbits in several places. I have forgotten to mention that a couple of days ago we saw a Black Rabbit in a colony at Laxfirth: they are quite common on Shetland which has few avian predators for them to worry about.

In between times we had a Yellow-browed Warbler in our local wood and two more over at Aith in Michael's wood, along with an elusive Long-eared Owl.

John
 

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