Sorry for the long absence, but I’ve been busy with other things! However, the marshes have not been idle, and recent camera trap footage shows herons, deer, ducks, and a fox with a cub all using the scrape in the south field. In the northern fields the ditches are full of tadpoles and dragon flies, there are orchids in the grass, the trees are still growing back and there have been badgers, hares and deer in the last few weeks.
Most excitingly though I had the opportunity to release some harvest mice onto the south field. A friend of mine who breeds them and other native wildlife for release (he has worked with the National Trust and others) was looking to ‘shift some stock’ and after an inspection decided this would be a good location. I had never seen a harvest mouse before, but they are beautiful little things, surprisingly confident and fantastic climbers. Wonderful in their own right of course, but also an important food item for other species. We released a couple of hundred in total, in a range of conditions, and hopefully this time next year some will have survived and will be spinning their little grass nests up and down the ditches.
The process was pretty simple. The males were put straight into the habitat to disperse, each box emptied at regular intervals, with a little food and bedding left around, tucked into the reeds. The females were left in their boxes which will be collected in a few days after they have left. With any luck they will spread and meet up and have happy mouse lives.