|bank voles like jumpers|
There are compensations, undoubtedly. The midday trapping shift brings sunshine and bank voles, smaller cousins of the watery variety immortalised as “Ratty” in Wind in the Willows, and surely our most amiable little furry critter. Most will happily sit in your hand, nestle into a jumper, or even crawl into your hair, posing patiently for photographs.
|Susy loves voles|
Woodmice prove the most frequent visitors to our traps, so much more wriggly and bitey and almost impossible to photograph unless you’re happy to settle for a brownish blur with whiskers. I have to admit to a soft spot for them, though. They are feisty little beasts, adaptable and determined survivors in our degraded countryside.
|Field vole, darker with v short tail|
I could write an entire post about the different types of traps we use, but I can already sense you reaching for the mouse (no pun intended) to click away to another site. Suffice to say that volunteers – yes, we’re not even being paid for this – are perfectly happy with Longworth traps.
|Help! I'm not the target species|
|Susy & Alison at work|
A big thank to the Surrey Wildlife Trust and their volunteers: Jo, Emma, Sheila and Nicky, who travelled to the Common from far and wide to help us out.
So, harvest mice, I hope to meet you on the Common one day and admire your golden fur, feather-light body and prehensile tail, unique among British mammals. But I think you had the last chuckle this time…
|harvest mouse nest?|
Afterword: Having penned this post, I went for a sunny walk on the Common this afternoon and found what I think is an abandoned harvest mouse nest on another part of the Common… Just too maddening!