Tuesday, 14 March 2017

All we need is just a litle patience

Sometimes this volunteering and conservation work takes a while for positive changes to be seen. Back in 2011 we started building up a small group of volunteers and in 2012 we started working more closely with Henllys CIW School. One of the simplest things we could do to engage and benefit wildlife was to build habitat boxes.

June 2011. Beau, who is now in high school shows off one of our very first dormouse boxes
November 2012. Henllys CIW Ecoclub are building and camouflage painting bat and dormouse boxes
December 2012. They are back installing these boxes which they made with us
Like many of our projects, we often do these activities for people and wildlife and we often hope it is of benefit. We inspected these boxes annually and the best thing we ever saw was a massive black spider and we quickly closed the lid.
April 2016. Local resident Evie and friends helped to paint more dormouse boxes with crayons
Within one month, one of Evie's boxes contained nesting blue tits, which was amazing as the hole points towards the trunk of the tree.
May 2016. Nesting blue tits are in dormouse box #1 only a month after installation
However, in May 2016, none of the other boxes contained any life apart from woodlice, worms, slugs and spiders. However, earlier today these boxes were all inspected and three of the dormouse boxes contained signs of mouse nests, with one of them containing gnawed hazel nuts.
Mar 2017. Dormouse boxes from 2011, 2012 and 2016 all have evidence of mouse activity and nests
There is a way of determining what creatures chewed upon them, but it is a skill which I have struggled with. After sending them to TCBC's ecologist Steve Williams, he quickly decided they were probably wood mice, which makes sense as I had previously photographed a wood mouse on one of the bird feeders in my garden. Importantly, these have only been occupied from May 2016. I'm sure those children, whom many are in high school now would be pleased to know that their efforts have indeed been fruitful and probably been a host to baby wood mice. It is a very warming thought.

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