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John's Mammals 2022 (1 Viewer)

Farnboro John

Well-known member
In other news, I was at Moor Green the other morning and noticed a Rabbit with a lop ear. I took some photos because this rang a bell. When I got home I checked and found I had photographed a lop-eared bunny in the exact same place (I mean the same nettle patch!) last March (2021). Same ear, too. In fact, beyond any reasonable doubt, same Rabbit.

Always nice to see an individual animal of a common species elevate itself to character.

John
 

MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
Not too much mammal wise but had a good evening with my garden badgers a few weeks back.

Mark
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
I have actually contrived to see some mammals recently, though the absolute peach went to Roy with a Mole scuttling across the road while I was gazing into a field (he was driving I hasten to add!)

A day out with Roy on 27 April after year ticks (both of us are chasing 300 this year) involved Little Paxton where Rabbits kicked us off, then Woodwalton Fen which predictably produced Chinese Water Deer as well as Roy's Gropper for the year. After that Fen Drayton provided us with a female Muntjac feeding in grass long enough for her not to have a view of me stalking her along an open track.

Roe Deer in the Fenland generally tried to make up for the absence of Turtle Doves from various places where they had been reported: a Barn Owl was of course much appreciated though it displaying a deceased Field Vole wasn't.

Finally Fowlmere RSPB gave up Fallow Deer, and a Water Vole along the little brook.

30 April saw me start the day at Portland with Steve Davis where juvenile Rabbits basked in sunshine among the rocks and Wheatear and Whinchat admitted themselves to my year list. Bird of the day was a butterfly: Wall Brown sitting open on a track in the top fields. Onwards to Martin Down still chasing the elusive Turtle Dove (still too elusive for us) and as we drove into the car park a live Field Vole scuttled out from the verge, grabbed something presumably edible and scuttled back! I scattered vole treats and we went walking, being more successful with butterflies than anything else with immaculate Small Blue, Grizzled Skipper and Small Heath!

On our return to the car park I took up a stance near the food I'd distributed but instead of a vole, the hedge spat out a Weasel carrying prey, which paused in the middle of the track for a microsecond then shot off into the other hedge. We finished with Brown Hares and Stone Curlew at Winterbourne Downs RSPB.

3 May saw me knocking off Night Heron at Slapton Bridge, slightly embarrassed along with the rest of the crowd when another birder turned up and asked if we'd seen it. We said no, and they responded: "Well what's that then?" - and it had walked out during an instant of inattention!

Next stop was the River Otter around Otterton where Dipper went onto the year list and an Otter did likewise, casually fishing as it drifted downstream. I finished off at Ham Wall where I missed the Purple Heron but saw three Bitterns, a couple of Grey Herons, about ten Great White Egrets, a couple of Littles and a flock of a dozen Cattle Egrets on their way to roost. Six heron spp for the day. And four Glossy Ibises!

12 May and a scorch to Rowney's Predator Lake for Red-footed Falcon, one of my favourite birds. Afterwards I went for a walk on Watership Down where I saw no Rabbits though a Brown Hare or two were lolloping around fields. It being midday probably didn't help!

Roy's Mole was on an excursion to Norfolk involving Great Reed Warbler and Turtle Dove among other things. Yaayy! At last!

That's about it for new stuff and I definitely owe you guys some pictures. Rain check I'm afraid!

Fox news now.

In general I've been visited by a core team of four adult foxes (dogs Smudge, Scally and Patch, and vixen Rip) with occasional appearances from Psycho and Hoppity, so entire team present and correct. Smudge tends to arrive, load up with chicken drumsticks (normally four though his record is seven) and then leave propelled by the instruction from me "that's it - off you go" accompanied by a sweep of my arm in his leaving direction. Normally he obeys though sometimes he returns after a few yards "are you sure....?"

That ****ing cat continues to freak out the dog foxes trying to steal their chicken and Rip the vixen continues to be best and most consistent at chasing it away. Considering she's half their size it's hilarious how much cooler she is.

Meanwhile Patch chewed an area of his left haunch fur off, clearly due to excessive irritation, be that insect bite, fungal itch or other parasitic issue. He then disappeared for three days morning and night and Patch NEVER does that. I was really worried, but then he reappeared having chewed a ragged hole in his haunch. I have a picture, I might appall you with it. I assume he'd nailed the issue as he wasn't still going at it and thankfully his movement was fluid and easy. Hopefully he will keep it clean and heal quickly, he's a tough determined little fella after all.

That's all folks. Pics when I have a minute.

Cheers

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
OK, I have a minute, so I'll put some pix up. First off, Patch is now all but healed of whatever was bothering him. That's the good news. The bad news is, here come the pictures, and (squeamish BEWARE) the first one is a bit grim. I need to make the point that he did this to himself because whatever was troubling him was that bad.

John

Patch's self-inflicted hole in his haunch.

Patch in entirety on the same occasion (19 May)

Patch just five days later, wound almost entirely closed up (24 May). Hurrah.

20220519 (1)_Red_Fox.JPG 20220519 (2)_Red_Fox.JPG 20220524 (5)_Red_Fox.JPG
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Some happier pix:

Chinese Water Deer at Woodwalton Fen
Muntjac female X 2 at Fen Drayton (in the second one she had definitely clocked me!)
Rip having a yawn
Young Rabbit at Portland Bill
Otter in the River Otter

20220427 (1)_Chinese_Water_Deer.JPG 20220427 (2)_Muntjac.JPG 20220427 (3)_Muntjac.JPG 20220429 (10)_Red_Fox.JPG 20220430 (6)_Rabbit.JPG 20220503 (11)_Otter.JPG
 

Ev4dawin

Always finding a way to go off topic...
United Kingdom
Fox news now.

In general I've been visited by a core team of four adult foxes (dogs Smudge, Scally and Patch, and vixen Rip) with occasional appearances from Psycho and Hoppity, so entire team present and correct. Smudge tends to arrive, load up with chicken drumsticks (normally four though his record is seven) and then leave propelled by the instruction from me "that's it - off you go" accompanied by a sweep of my arm in his leaving direction. Normally he obeys though sometimes he returns after a few yards "are you sure....?"

That ****ing cat continues to freak out the dog foxes trying to steal their chicken and Rip the vixen continues to be best and most consistent at chasing it away. Considering she's half their size it's hilarious how much cooler she is.

Meanwhile Patch chewed an area of his left haunch fur off, clearly due to excessive irritation, be that insect bite, fungal itch or other parasitic issue. He then disappeared for three days morning and night and Patch NEVER does that. I was really worried, but then he reappeared having chewed a ragged hole in his haunch. I have a picture, I might appall you with it. I assume he'd nailed the issue as he wasn't still going at it and thankfully his movement was fluid and easy. Hopefully he will keep it clean and heal quickly, he's a tough determined little fella after all.

That's all folks. Pics when I have a minute.

Cheers

John
We had a cub visit us in 2020 during lockdown, and she came daily for over a year. Haven't seen her in a long while though, and she was almost eating from our hands. Some other foxes come and snooze in the garden scarcely, but they're all very skittish. Nice to see yours seem to be doing ok.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I came home from my brother's place on Sunday night and as usual talked to myself on the walk in from the car. Patch absolutely galloped up to me over the thirty yards from near the house to where I'd got to, then skittered around me without understanding how to convey what he was feeling. Foxes don't wag their tails but I think if they did he would have! He led me from a few yards in front, looking over his shoulder to make sure I was following, all the way to the front door, where he glanced at it then at me to make sure I understood that was where I had to go, then trotted aside to give me room to do so. He seems fully fit again.

Meanwhile his full littermate brother Smudge was watching from the archway into which he had retreated, with an unmistakable air of "Patch, what on earth are you doing now?" about him. Unfair because even he has come to meet me once.....

By the time I had my key out and the door open all four regular foxes (Patch, Smudge, Rip and Scally) had closed in behind me awaiting the nightly chicken. So I postponed any actions of my own and fetched their dinner.

Monday night four became five as Psycho turned up with his piratical half-closed right eye. He doesn't quite come in with the regulars, keeping to the far edge of the lawn, but he knows what he is there for and will stand his ground if any of them get indignant about this interloper being fed.

Monday Maz and I had been to Kent (again) this time for Sardinian Warbler. We also revisited the Eleonora's and Red-foot at Worth, where I asked a chap with his two sons whether they were watching Marsh Frogs from the bridge over a ditch they were leaning on, to be told they had a little water vole. When they pointed out the tiny hole they'd seen it poking out of I explained that Water Voles are bigger than that, and settled in to see what did come out. A Bank Vole proved to be the answer but the guys were really pleased to have that positively identified for them so all was well. I found some Marsh Frogs elsewhere in the ditch.

John
 

prhodes

Well-known member
We finally enjoyed a weekend trip to Vienna. The mammal targets were European Hamster and European Souslik. They really couldn't be easier. After arriving in the city (Austrian Airways on time with no problems) we caught the train from the airport to our budget hotel (Ibis a few hundred yards from Praterstern Station) and after dropping our bags, we headed out to Meidling Cemetery (using Praterstern Station - no changes required).

Despite arriving in the middle of the afternoon in hot weather we were soon photographing the hamsters. They were present in both halves of the cemetery and a few were out and about, despite the heat and the odd appearance of a Kestrel overhead. As the afternoon progressed towards early evening hamster activity became even more intensive. We also saw a pale look hedgehog that we believe to be Eastern or White-breasted Hedgehog wandering around in the eastern section of the cemetery, although it seemed a little shyer than the hamsters.

The next day we headed out to the village of Gerasdorf (again using Praterstern station - no changes required). From the railway station, walk west into the centre of the village and then down Teichgasse towards the Badeteich swimming lake. As we approached the lake we started to see the sousliks, but they tended to dash off and disappear. As it was a hot and sunny day, we opted to pay the entrance fee and enter the swimming lake. Inside the sousliks were tame with one even jumping onto Carrin's lap for a bit of a Garibaldi biscuit!

Bird wise it was a bit disappointing, with only Middle-spotted Woodpecker seen by one of our party. As it was a short relaxing trip we didn't make much of an effort to build a bird list as this would have meant getting-up early this time of year. We are grateful to John Wright's trip report that we basically followed.

Despite some graffiti, the city was impressive to say the least. Also, it was very clean and friendly, and public transport was reasonably cheap and easy to use.
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Thank you for a great short report of a highly successful trip!

My news is a bit anecdotal, coming partly from a friend and fellow pub-goer and partly from my brother.

My friend told me of his neighbour, who owns a Chihuahua and a Dachshund. They are normally only allowed out under control but as he nipped down to put out his bins (not binoculars, rubbish bins), a local fox trotted past and the two dogs lit out after it.

He recovered the Chihuahua quickly but the Dachshund had got out of sight and the search widened and became a bit frantic.

Eventually he found the dog on a grassy bank, "hanging out" with the fox and two cubs!

My brother Dave occasionally has mouse problems (sometimes Woodies but often Yellow-necks) that extend into his loft, for which he blames cavity wall insulation that enables them to climb up between the walls. The odd one gets ignored but when it builds up he live traps them and gives them a ride in the mouse taxi for a couple of miles, mice being known to be able to home from up to a kilometre away without great difficulty.

Anyway, he was in the garage looking for some plastic trip traps for an assault on the latest horde, when he noticed that mice seemed to have started in on a 12.5kg bag of shelled raw peanuts (the visible evidence being the chestnut brown rinds in the washing up bowl on a table in which the bag stood). When he picked up the bag a cloud of rinds blew out - it was completely empty!

He told me the mice had cleared this 12.5 kg bag in under two months. You have been warned.

At home one-eyed Psycho finally lived up to his name and became the first dog fox to chase that damned black-and-white cat across several lawns when it tried to loom up and force him off his chicken. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

John
 

prhodes

Well-known member
My word, I'd be delighted to have a Yellow-necked problem! After all of these decades of wildlife spotting still never knowingly seen one. Attended quite a few small mammal trapping events before the pandemic without any luck I guess.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Have to see what I can arrange when I'm home - in Scotland currently...

Speaking of which, up the Findhorn valley today, no eagles but a partial Ermine Stoat in June!!! I got onto it following the line of sight of a flying Common Gull shrieking from about thirty feet up. Always take notice of animal behaviour! Red Deer on the flats in the narrower parts of the valley.

Also Bank Voles en masse at Loch Garten Osprey Centre earlier on. Good day out.

John
 

MarkHows

Mostly Mammals
An update not many sightings recently but a little update, a very strange occurrence, I found a dead mole on my garden path, then a few days later I found a mole in the same spot barely alive, I tried to give it water but it died.
Other sightings, a friendly muntjac in Bury St Edmunds (phone photo) Dartmoor ponies on a trip to the South West and the garden badgers still being very photogenic. Local hares a couple of fox sightings but not too much else since my last post.

Mark
 

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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Well that was a long gap.... sorry. Three weeks in Finland followed by the build-up of a good autumn for birds (I know others have been saying it isn't but I think it very much depends on your previous list, where you were and your availability).

In Britain at least mammals have taken a back seat apart from the routine contact with my fox skulk. I'll provide some up-to-date pictures in a while as there has been a lot of interesting interaction and shifts back and forth in the hierarchy. Shetland didn't really deliver on views though Minke Whale, Grey and Common Seals and Harbour Porpoise crept onto the year list. Even Otters didn't really come across with only two sightings of which only one, on the last morning, was of one of our local Hillswick Otters.

Twitching the Blackburnian Warbler via the Scillonian upped the ante with Minke Whale, Common Dolphin and more Harbour Porpoises all on view at various times but not photographable.

What led me to this post was that I had a day's birding in Norfolk yesterday and trod on a Weasel. Really. Honestly.

I was at Titchwell and had been scanning the saltmarsh West of the main path, then without looking down turned and took my first step onwards. As my foot came down I felt, through my worn trainer sole, a twisting, squirming movement beneath my foot, which I hurriedly arrested and raised again. The movement was accompanied by a genuinely scary snarling such as one wouldn't believe could come from a small animal, but on looking down I saw the russet streak of a Weasel leg it across the path to disappear into the rough grasses on the slope down to the Titchwell RSPB reedbed.

I hung about and tried to squeak it out again but it wouldn't play and frankly I don't blame it.

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Went up to London for the Wembley American Football game last Sunday (Jacksonville Jaguars were "Home" team, against the Denver Broncos - Broncos won 21 - 17) which naturally involved travelling on the Underground for part of the journey.

Waterloo Underground, Bakerloo Line Northbound platform, North end - House Mouse year tick. Nice.

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Up in London again last night for a lecture on Spaceport Cornwall and the fairly imminent take-off and subsequent satellite launch from a 747 "Cosmic Girl". On the way back to Waterloo I was becalmed for a few minutes at Embankment Underground, Northern Line Southbound, and had a couple of House Mice - looked small, so probably juveniles. One was down on the tracks near the tunnel and the other racing around on the platform near my feet.

Tip for prospective House Mouse twitchers, ends of platforms are usually better than the middle. Also don't stand around missing trains or you'll end up with security on your case (that's previous experience, I didn't get my collar felt last night!)

John
 

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