Worcestershire Record No. 16 April 2004 p. 12
Shaun Micklewright, County Mammal Recorder
Many thanks to all recorders who have submitted mammal records over the past few years, from the records received so far we really are beginning to build up quite a good picture of mammal distribution within the county.
Unfortunately we still have very few records for some mammal species, especially mice and voles. This, in some ways, was to be expected as the request for mammal records is based on casual records rather than fixed tetrad recording. The casual record gathering has worked extremely well for most species but for mice and voles we have had to mainly rely on ‘What the cat brought in’ and owl pellet analysis for most records, and it is these two areas of recording that I would like promote in an appeal for records.
I am sure that, like myself, there are many recorders who may own or know of someone who owns a cat, and though distressing at times, the cat may have brought in a small mammal.
As I own three cats you would imagine that I would be stacked out with small mammal records but the fact is my cats tend to bring me leaves, long dead rotten bird corpses and frogs! I am sure my cats are an exception (too fat and old) and that there are small mammals out there just waiting to be pounced upon, but my cats being the lazy fur balls that they are, seem more content with pouncing on the duvet rather than a House Mouse.
So it is to all recorders who own or know of cats that bring in small mammals that I appeal.
Please, do have a look next time and see if that little parcel the cat brought in is a House Mouse, Wood Mouse or Vole, as the record would be of great value. It just may be that there are so few mice and voles out there? Or that we all have fat old cats, so please put my three moggies to shame and send in a record.
Another important method for mice and vole recording has been through the analysis of owl pellets; these have been a very good way of obtaining records. John Meickljohn at the WBRC has been able to identify up to five species of mice and vole from just a few pellets. Barn Owl pellets are the most productive (little black nuggets of gold) but Tawny Owls also produce a reasonable crop of records from their pellets. So if you do know of an Owl roost site and could collect a few pellets and send them into the WBRC for John to analyse this again would go along way to help boost our numbers of small mammals.
|Wood Mouse drawn by Ray Bishop|
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