At one of our sites in Bedfordshire where we have been monitoring since before 2010, we were getting a little worried at the lack of sightings the last two or three years. With what seemed to be a dwindling population, inevitably going the way of so many woodlands, which now have no dormice at all, we had such a pleasant surprise on our last check of the year!
We were delighted to find a fat female in a nest with one of this year's offspring; a young male. Enjoy some pictures from Pam Rumfitt, of Paul Tearle and myself carrying out the weighing and sexing:
Paul bringing the box down, Dominique ready with the bag to put it in:
One mouse pops out of the box in the bag:
The box is removed from the bag to reveal a second mouse, and Paul weighs the first; an Adult female weighing a healthy 39 grams:
And the second is a little man weighing in at 12 grams:
A little light for the end of the season; we'd like to see dormice weighing at least 14 grams to see them through hibernation. With this in mind I popped back the next day to leave a little supply of hazel nuts, sunflower seeds, and other mixed nuts and fruits, that would be in his natural diet, just to tip him into the healthy weight bracket for hibernation. All this is available to them in the area, (as is shown by the female's good weight!) but he is obviously a late in the season baby, so a little subsidised feed won't hurt before the big sleep :)