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John's Mammals 2022 (1 Viewer)

Original PaulE

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I didn't mention that on Thursday I was down at the Burgh in West Sussex looking for farmland birds now difficult or impossible locally. I added Grey Partridge and Yellowhammer to the year list and had some excellent views of Brown Rats feeding under a pheasant feeder, having dug their holes right next to it for the purpose. I'm in favour of farming for farmland birds even when it includes game shooting as part of the business model, but the estate in question kills predators which are legal quarry - I've seen the tunnels where they trap Stoats and Weasels, and they have also been proved to use Larsen traps - but what you get if you kill small predators and provide loads of grain is rats in profusion. It's stupid as well as wrong.

John
I was there yesterday, see my birding day forum, it surprises me they do this as there were plenty of Corvids and Raptors about, I thought they had accepted predators! Would have thought the rats would be just as big a danger to the Partridge Chicks as the stoats and as you say the stoats would kill the rats. Have to say, as someone who is against killing things for fun, the habitat they have created is pretty special and would say if the majority of farms did the same ,Farmland birds and other wildlife would have a much better Outlook, would be nice if government subsidies were targeted at this.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Fox news update: the mating season has been pretty hard on the boys this year.

I haven't seen Psycho since the 14th but he can be a bit of an erratic visitor. I hope he's OK.

Even Jitter, who is just a cub in his first winter, has had a couple of days on three legs with his right rear held up, probably bitten as he was running away.

But the three contenders, Scally, Patch and even the mild Smudge, have been taking a battering, whether at each other's jaws or those of neighbouring foxes I don't know.

Smudge has a healing flesh wound on the right side of his muzzle. (First pic)

Patch has taken a big bite to the left side of his head. I've previously remarked on a toothmark down his face just in front of his eye, but a photo of him eating has now revealed what the opponent's lower mandible did to Patch's chin and it's no wonder he sometimes eats a bit tentatively. (Second pic)

But Scally - battle-scarred and tatty-eared on his right side on arrival a year ago - has now had his left ear ripped apart. The outer edge is hanging down forwards and I shouldn't be surprised if it eventually comes off. (Third pic)

However he remains alert and pugnacious and Maz watched him call his vixen, Rip, to him with a rrow-rrow-rrow outside the front early morning today. They went off together (the two foxes, not Maz.)

John

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Well this is what it all about, for them. And a rare privilege for me as well. Scally rocked up for dinner and I gave him a drumstick, which he took away to the far end of right next door's garden, not only at the edge of where we can see but also handily placed for a dart through the archway if an intruder appears.

While he was eating, his vixen, Rip, trotted past him and round the pathways to our garden path and sat waiting for her rations, which she got and ate in her usually dainty fashion (the boys, when fit, are num num num crunch.) After she had finished she saw Scally returning and she absolutely presented for him, a little whine, raised tail and posed with a slightly arched back. Scally looked at her then trotted down to the front step to demand a second drumstick. Rip retreated to left next door's path and gave him a filthy look. I had trouble not laughing. Laddish dog fox!

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Meanwhile elsewhere Steve and I had a close encounter with a Red Fox at the ARC Pit car park at Dungeness RSPB. It was just the other side of the closed gate to the normal track to the hide that is currently closed for rebuilding. It looked at us in an interested way but wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere even while Steve went to get his camera from the car and return, footsteps crunching on the gravel!

As we advanced to get a clearer view it did start to move away but it kept pausing and looking back even before I started squeaking it as I would a Mustelid. So we got decent sets of a fox in daylight and here are a few of mine.

John


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Farnboro John

Well-known member
For the second time Patch staggered me as I returned home about 2030 yesterday. I generally talk to myself on the way in to the house from the car (in our courtyard environment that's about fifty yards) as all the foxes know my voice and it leads them to move out of the way but not run off and I can feed them as soon as I get in. Twice now Patch has taken that a stage further.

Our house is just round a corner from the main distance to be travelled so anyone to the right of it viewed from the car park end can't see along that stretch, and Patch's favourite perch is in that position. He heard me coming and trotted to where he could see, then ran towards me and escorted me in from about five yards away, ending up on my front step looking at me while I gently remonstrated that I'm coming in there - as I kept coming he moved aside onto next door's patio. What a guy.

Obviously I fed him at once. We've had no oven for a couple of weeks so they've had raw chicken and been unimpressed - they've eaten it but not without a few "what the hell is this then" looks. With the new oven installed and cooked chicken back on the menu instant devouring has recommenced. Num num num crunch.

John
 

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
For the second time Patch staggered me as I returned home about 2030 yesterday. I generally talk to myself on the way in to the house from the car (in our courtyard environment that's about fifty yards) as all the foxes know my voice and it leads them to move out of the way but not run off and I can feed them as soon as I get in. Twice now Patch has taken that a stage further.

Our house is just round a corner from the main distance to be travelled so anyone to the right of it viewed from the car park end can't see along that stretch, and Patch's favourite perch is in that position. He heard me coming and trotted to where he could see, then ran towards me and escorted me in from about five yards away, ending up on my front step looking at me while I gently remonstrated that I'm coming in there - as I kept coming he moved aside onto next door's patio. What a guy.

Obviously I fed him at once. We've had no oven for a couple of weeks so they've had raw chicken and been unimpressed - they've eaten it but not without a few "what the hell is this then" looks. With the new oven installed and cooked chicken back on the menu instant devouring has recommenced. Num num num crunch.

John
He’ll be demanding a wash, brush, and blow dry grooming service next John! When you get a moment could you let me know your view on our middle of the night feline visitor (a few pics from the garden trail camera are on my Birding Halfway up the Alps thread) Cheers.
 

prhodes

Well-known member
We were re-considering booking a trip to see the European Hamster and Souslik, around Vienna. Has anyone heard how the the populations are doing during the last couple of unusual years? Was thinking of early June if anyone else interested, and assuming the Covid rules continue to become easier.

All the best Phil
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
We were re-considering booking a trip to see the European Hamster and Souslik, around Vienna. Has anyone heard how the the populations are doing during the last couple of unusual years? Was thinking of early June if anyone else interested, and assuming the Covid rules continue to become easier.

All the best Phil
I haven't heard but unless the Chinese have released the "Hong Kong Hamster variant" in Vienna specifically to mess your plans up I think they should be OK.

John
 

prhodes

Well-known member
Yes, I'd forgotten about the hamster Covid link in Hong Kong. Doubt and hope the euthanize the hamsters hysteria made it to Austria. I'll report back if we go.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Day out in Norfolk and Fenland yesterday, lots of Muntjacs around, also in a few places lots of Brown Hares: two small groups of Roe Deer distantly in fields, a Common Seal off Titchwell and a Brown Rat at Welney WWT.

Some cracking birds and bird spectacles as well: target Iceland Gull at Cley, Red-breasted Goose at Salthouse, 16 Cranes at Eldernell (some in flight and brief display!) though sadly no sign of Tundra Bean Geese at Welney - I see one reported today there grrr! Non-year-tick highlights included three Great White Egrets in separate locations, a dozen Spoonbills at Holkham frequently in flight due to passing Marsh Harriers, Buzzards and Red Kites. Massive numbers of Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits, Wigeon and Teal at Eldernell rising in panic chivvied by more Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine. Wonderful stuff!

I got home about 2030 and chatted to Steve as he transferred his gear from my car to his for the last short leg of his journey. As soon as I headed for my own front door I found Patch was sitting waiting for me only a few yards beyond the bollards at the edge of the car parking - he must have heard us chatting and trotted up to make sure I saw him first. I say first because I could see tawny shapes slinking into cover as I followed Patch down to my house, where he walked right up to my front door to make sure I knew where to go (well he must have had some purpose in mind?) before bounding aside to next door so I could actually get in. When I returned with the chicken there were four foxes sitting on the lawn, each in their self-appointed regular spots! Patch was to my left, Scally at the foot of the step, Rip (who is now so huge with pregnancy that one can almost see individual cubs causing strange bulges under her fur in addition to the general rotundity) on the path and Smudge a little back on the right.

Knowing their hierarchy I managed to feed all four without any squabbling. Later in the evening Rip popped back for another morsel and was interrupted by Jitter, though a sharp word from me stopped him dead. He got his own bit of chicken and some kind words as a reward for good behaviour.

Today I took advantage of retirement to nip down to Bestwall RSPB on the edge of Wareham for three Tundra Bean Geese to make up for yesterday's dip, and went on to Arne in search of Sika Deer. A long walk only yielded distant views but as I headed back to the reserve centre ahead of impending showers, I met a couple who had rather optimistically been looking for raft spiders in a dipping pond I hadn't looked at before. I decided to give the pool and its surroundings five minutes in case a Water Vole might have adopted it and while sitting quietly heard a large animal on the nearby hillside. A Sika buck slipped along the slope behind a thin screen of birch and alder before heading behind some big gorse bushes that gave me the chance to turn and make ready in case he reappeared in more open woodland beyond. When he did I rattled off a few shots. I believe he heard the camera as he promptly stopped and turned his head towards me, giving me a really nice view punctuated with further shutter sounds. I was still enough that he couldn't resolve me into a human and after a minute or so he carried on through the trees. I decided that was a good time to head home.

John
 
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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Patch continues to surprise me. The other night Maz called me out to feed him and as he set about his chicken drumstick he heard next door (right) opening their door. He quickly trotted away to the corner of the terrace by the archway (a popular escape route for the foxes, leading onto the open and wilder refuge of the brook) leaving his drumstick on the lawn. He'd hardly started it. He made several indecisive moves towards the archway and back to his stance, from which he couldn't be seen by the next door neighbour, who continued to look out of their doorway without moving, but he and I could see each other clearly.

Then he looked straight at me for several seconds, and I got the impression he was hoping I could reassure him. So I told him it was all right, he could come and get his chicken. Obviously he doesn't get the words but he's very used to interpreting my tone of voice and he immediately trotted forward onto the lawn, picked up his drumstick and trotted back to exit via the archway.

To me the significant thing here is not his correct interpretation of my communication, but the faith he put in it, relying on me to assure him he would be safe in taking the action he wanted to, despite the presence of the other human whom he was unable to judge.

Anyway, some photos from last weekend - birds, and the Sika at Arne.

John

Red-breasted Goose Salthouse
Cranes Eldernell
Tundra Bean Geese Bestwall RSPB (Wareham)
Sika stag Arne RSPB

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Out and about yesterday, Ferruginous Duck at Dorchester GP, Oxfordshire - nice bird and easy to find and watch. I walked in from the small free car park at the South end of the village so good exercise too.

I then made use of the A34's proximity to drop down to the New Forest and spent the afternoon flogging up and down Backley Bottom looking for the Great Grey Shrike that has wintered there but frequently been elusive. It certainly was yesterday, I didn't see it. However, near the start of my walk from the Canadian War Memorial just North of Bolderwood, I encountered a substantial herd of Fallow Deer including some bucks with massive antlers. They were quite close and almost indifferent to people (though not dogs) enabling me to get some decent pictures. So I went home happy.

John
 

WalterRayle

Emeritus Prof at University of the Bearded Clam
United Kingdom
I saw my first bat species of the year yesterday (8th March), it flew through the headlights in front of the car and down the road ahead of me at around 19.00. This was surprising given it had been cold and wet most of the afternoon with high wind and at the time of the sighting a temperature of 6C. This was along a scrub-lined country lane in south-west Wiltshire with Rye-grass pasture on either side. A little later in Hampshire a Long-eared Owl crossed the road in front of me, my first for a number of years, a fitting end to what had been a half decent day out.
 

MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
The Breckland otters from a recent trip, they showed very nicely, top encounter.

Mark
 

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MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
I did some small mammal trapping in my little reserve recently, obviously not the best time but had common and pygmy shrew, wood and yellow necked mice and bank vole.

Mark
 

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WalterRayle

Emeritus Prof at University of the Bearded Clam
United Kingdom
I had my first identifiable bat over the garden yesterday evening, a Pipistrelle, only did a couple of circuits at about 19.20, shortly after a spell of light rain.
 

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