Data from Dropping Well Farm
At the end of April we had the exciting privilege of carrying out the first ever mammal survey on Dropping Well Farm, near Bewdley. Many of you will have heard of the site, which was acquired by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust in recent years. A 38 hectare arable farm, the Trust are starting the process of restoring it to heathland habitats, which will connect beautifully with surrounding habitat at Devil’s Spittleful, the Rifle Range, Burlish Top and Blackstone Meadows. An exciting prospect for all wildlife. But we wanted to see what small mammals might be around at the start of this journey of restoration.
About 15 of our members got together on a rare mild and dry morning for April. Like a herd of sheep we moved together through the fields, checking the 20 BioEcoSS tube traps, which had been set the previous night by some of our hardy and dedicated committee members. They were located in prime small mammal habitat: along hedgebanks and under infield trees, amidst scrub and dead wood. And they were set with apple chunks, seeds and hay.
After an hour of checking traps and still no mammals to be had, we were thinking we may have a no show all morning. Nevertheless, no data is good data! And especially as this would be the first data of its kind at the farm. But on the next trap we had our first furry visitor – a wood mouse. We’re not sure it was anticipating the cheer it evoked when it dropped out of the trap but it was kind enough to pose for photos! This turned out to be the first of 4 wood mice to grace our traps. A good return for a first survey!
Alongside our trap checking we kept an eye out for other mammal tracks and signs, and we were pleased to see a large and active badger sett, some small mammal grass runs and tunnels, fox tracks and some possible muntjac poo! All interesting data and a great baseline to work from with future monitoring at this restoration site.
Whilst we were musing about mammals, skylarks sung overhead, several snails intrigued us and even a lizard took an opportune moment to bask in the welcome sunshine for us.
A great morning, and a good start to years’ worth of data from Dropping Well Farm. This will hopefully track its success at becoming a wildlife-rich site, bursting with mammals!