Live Mammal Trapping 5 October 2014.
This was a very successful meeting, well attended by both people and small mammals on a beautiful sunny autumn morning. 15 Longworth mammal traps had been set the previous evening in two separate locations. Nine traps were set around the edges of a glade where some woodland management had recently been carried out by members of our group. Unfortunately only one of these traps caught anything, a young Bank Vole. However the second area, a slightly damp area and undisturbed (with low banks!), was much more successful and five of the six traps set produced Bank Voles. There was great excitement as the small mammals were examined individually as they fed and cleaned themselves in a perspex container. All six Bank Voles were found to be young, born this year, and in good condition. Photographs were taken and then they were all, of course, released unharmed.
As well as Bank Voles we have actually caught Field Mice in previous years. These prove very lively and it is great to be able to compare the two species out in the field. It was nevertheless a very enjoyable and rewarding morning this October and all who attended are now looking forward to next October’s event when Val Clinging, the Sorby Natural History Society mammal specialist, will again be our leader.
Moth Trapping 18 August 2014
Our dear friend Frank Botterill, a moth specialist, once again agreed to bring his portable generator along and run a moth trapping evening for us just outside the wood. A small group of us gathered in anticipation as it began to get dark. There was a slight breeze and a chill in the air but Frank chose a sheltered position by the brook and near to a variety of trees and bushes in the hope the mercury vapour lamps would attract a variety of moth species. He chatted away, sharing his knowledge, explaining the process and answering questions and before too long moths started to appear. It is a lovely experience to have these small winged creatures flitting out of the dark and through the light, often to land on the white sheets that have been laid out on the ground. As an expert would, Frank identified them with ease and told us a little about their life cycle and the food plants they prefer. We have had over 60 species on some nights with him, but on this night we had 21 but it was still a great night with such moths as the Small Pheonix, the Brimstone Moth, the Flame Shoulder, the Six Striped Rustic, the Square Spot Rustic and get this, the Canary Shouldered Thorn. Typically Frank said “ I wondered when that was going to appear”. He knew the moth, its preferred habitat and about what time it would appear, wow! We lost count of the number of Large Yellow Underwings that “dropped in” but once again it was a very worthwhile and extremely interesting evening for us all.
So….if you do see one of our events advertised in this publication or on posters around the village please do come along if you can because you will be made very welcome. We really do encourage members of the community to join us and learn, with us, a little more about the natural history of our local wood. And yes, we do hope to arrange another moth trapping evening and much more in 2015.
(P.S. It is with deep regret that following our moth trapping event we have been advised that Frank Botterill died in a road accident when he was knocked off his bicycle. Our thoughts go out to him and his family. A great friend of our Group, a lovely man.)