Mammal surveying

Shawnee, Max, Steven, Ellen and I are currently taking part in a mammal surveying competition hosted by the Royal Mammal Society! We aren’t taking it too seriously though (don’t panic Mum), our actual work obviously takes priority, but it’s a nice social activity on the side. It’s been nice as we have been able to do a bit of field ecology this semester, as our lectures this semester have been more classroom based and theoretical as we approach the final stint. It’s been a pleasure to break up that heavy work load and getting out and about in the fresh air for a an hour or two, as well as refreshing those ecology skills from previous years. We are doing several techniques, including quick 100 m line transects, camera traps and mammal traps (as we had the equipment for this through Shawnee’s dissertation work). Yesterday we joined Shawnee for some small mammal trapping. I had helped her set up the traps the day before; filled them with warm hay and food, and set up the trap doors. The next morning we met at uni at 8 am and headed off to see if we had captured anything! We also had two 2nd year biology students with us, as our Professor, Iain, had asked if they could come along too and get familiar with the techniques they were themselves planning on using to survey small mammals for their field project in Swaziland! Shawnee did an excellent job of teaching them, and reminding us others again how it was done (personally I hadn’t handled traps like these myself since Swaziland, almost 2 years ago, so I was rusty to say the least!). We had a great number of captures, including 7 house mice, a bank vole, a pygmy shrew and a yellow necked mouse. Shawnee let us all have a go at holding the wriggly things, most of us unsuccessfully, apart from Steven who held a cute little wood mouse for the camera. I tried to hold the yellow necked mouse, but the feisty thing was so determined to escape from the plastic bag he was temporarily being kept in, he climbed up my arm and jumped away to safety. I almost managed to hold a wood mouse on my second attempt, but again, he wriggled free in my hands and ran off. A great morning though, it was so nice seeing some wildlife, it always makes me feel a bit more happy!
Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

Mammal Trapping with Shawnee

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