Last Saturday was quite a busy day in terms of getting outside and surrounded by nature. As you’ll see from my latest post, I was on a fungi foray in the morning with my local wildlife group then in the afternoon I was at the National Memorial Arboretum with their Wildlife Watch group, which I’m one of the leaders of.
The Wildlife Watch group here have monthly sessions and at each one they do a different activity. On Saturday Derek Crawley from the Mammal Society came along. He was a real star guest and introduced the group to the world of small mammals and trapping them for conservation purposes (to record and let free again).
On Saturday we had the regular attendees of the group along with the local cubs so there was quite a lot of us but it all ran smoothly and everyone was learning something new along with having a great time!
Around 40 traps were set up the night before in the intention of trapping small mammals such as voles, mice and shrews, and so we did! After we emptied the trap the children were able to have a look at what had been caught before it was released. Data of what was caught was also added to the records for this site.
Once a month I go to a local Wildlife Watch meeting at the National Memorial Arboretum. As I’m quite a bit older then the other kids I act more as a leader within the group. Yesterdays session was about all about various mammals which are present at the Arboretum. A local mammal expert, Derek Crawley, set 39 traps out the night before then we went to collect them during the session and to see what mammals had been trapped over night.
Yesterday the trapping was to show the children a close up of different species but this method is often used to monitor the numbers of various mammals. The traps were set up at roughly ten feet apart beneath an unused grassy area. When we found a trap which was closed we opened it up to see what had been caught. We then examined the mammal, looked to see if it was male or female then let it go. It was brilliant to see the species close up. We managed to catch seven wood mice, a bank vole and a field vole. Here are some photos I took.
Something else I found out yesterday was the mammal tracking phone app. This is to record different mammals in the UK so more can be found out about whereabouts they are and numbers. You can follow this link to download the app for your apple or android phone – http://www.brc.ac.uk/mammal_tracker/
A wood mice that escaped down a sleeve!
The children having a real hands on experience with one of the voles that was caught.