Mammal Tracks & Signs Report
Mammal Tracks and Signs workshop, 7th October 2014
There was a full house for this event at Rodley Nature Reserve, which focused on increasing confidence in using more obvious field signs to discover the whereabouts of Wharfedale mammals. I hope this will lead to more records being submitted which ultimately will result in more meaningful data on the distribution of mammals in our area.
We looked at a range of field signs, including tracks and trails, feeding remains – getting to grips with various nibbled nuts, and of course the subject turned to scatology. The range of mustelids (badger, otter, stoat, weasel) and small mammals (mice, rat, voles, shrews and squirrel) were covered. Deer included Muntjac as well as roe. This non-native species it is known to have reached Yorkshire, with the Deer Society website reporting that north of the Humber its distribution is patchy but reaches close to the Scottish border. One was reported at Potteric Carr in April this year but I am not aware of any records in Wharfedale, so any observations will be interesting.
Success on our afternoon walk round the reserve was somewhat hampered by recent heavy rain and high river level, but we confirmed through the presence of numerous droppings along the grassy paths that there is a very healthy fox population, while it took no time to find field vole runs and a feeding station in long grass. The sand traps, which Peter and Barbara Murphy kindly set out in advance on known animal trails, yielded fox and roe deer prints plus those of a swan!
Many thanks to Rodley Nature Reserve, and in particular Peter and Barbara Murphy for their time and effort in hosting this event.
Photo by Mary and Angus Hogg [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.