Winter Warmers and Project News

Vivien Kent Mammal Web, News


It’s been a long time since the last Mammal Web blog post – for which we apologise! But that does mean that there is lots to catch up on and some cracking images to share with you too.

Firstly, an update on the project as a whole. We recently reached a significant milestone of 100,000 uploaded images! This is a fantastic achievement and we were delighted that having issued a press release to announce this we got some good coverage in both the local press and on the BBC online. There will also be an article on the project in the next edition of Mammal News which is the magazine for members of the Mammal Society. I hope some of you will manage to get hold of a copy.

We have made some small improvements to the website for both Spotters and Trappers in the last couple of months and there are further developments in the pipeline which we hope will enable visitors to the site to interrogate some of the data we have been gathering.

So now for news of our cameras and what they have been capturing.

The short days of winter are well and truly with us now and the mammals (and other wildlife) are going through their annual battle to survive the food shortage and the cold. Much depends on the stocks that were laid down in the autumn, or the supplementary food provided by us.

 

Squirrel carrying a large acorn to stash for the winter

Squirrel carrying a large acorn to stash for the winter

 

Squirrel burying food for the winter

However, for some species the best strategy for getting through the winter is to hibernate. Hedgehogs do this of course and the last sighting we had of a hedgehog at Rainton this winter was on the 2nd November. But, hedgehog hibernation habits are very variable between individuals and locations and one Mammal Web Trapper has been seeing a hedgehog in her garden regularly throughout January!

Fox meets hedgehog - but nobody gets hurt!

Fox meets hedgehog – but nobody gets hurt!

For other mammals winter is a time for finding and bonding with a mate. This means that the young will be born early in spring and gives them the longest time possible with good food supplies and warm weather to become independent. Foxes and brown hares are two species who adopt this strategy and we have been getting lots of sightings of both in the last few months.

Brown hare posing for the camera

 

Brown hare chase in the woods

Brown hare chase in the woods

 

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Curious fox

 

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Fox on a mission

 

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And back the other way

And of course our cameras don’t only capture images of mammals – although they are our target. We get lots of pictures of birds too and in the winter we sometimes see species that are not so often seen like some of these below.

Redwing paying a visit

Redwing paying a visit

 

Handsome jay

Handsome jay

Finally, we are asking as many people as possible to do some Spotting in the next couple of weeks as we are trying to meet a deadline for submitting data to ERIC North East in February. If you can spare ten minutes to classify a few images we really would be very grateful.