April 2012

posted 6 May 2012, 03:59 by Haley Whittall   [ updated 6 Jul 2012, 06:28 ]

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Crowborough Conservation has started checking a number of survey sites for activity prior to this year's field events for members.

An early check was undertaken at The Ghyll to check the Dormouse nest boxes.  To our surprise we found one dormant Dormouse in a part of The Ghyll where Dormice had not been recorded before. 

A dormant Dormouse at The Ghyll 
A dormant Dormouse at The Ghyll

A dormant Dormouse at The Ghyll.
In early spring, if the weather is bad and food is scarce, Dormice become torpid. It is somewhat like hibernation: the dormouse's body becomes cold and it stays very still, it almost appears to be dead.  Going torpid allows the dormouse to save fat reserves that it could need should the bad weather continue and food remain unavailable. Torpor probably saves around 20% of the energy that would normally be used during a day.

At one of our reptile survey sites, Hornshurst Wood in Rotherfield, we witnessed two pairs of breeding Adders and caught site (very briefly) of two male Adders in a 'Dance of the Adders' , where the males raise the front half of their bodies to wrestle each in a show of strength to stake their claim to a receptive female.

We have recently made contact with an owner of a different part of Hornshurst Wood where Adders occur so can look forward to gaining more information about this fascinating reptile, which is thought to be in serious decline in the UK.

Another reptile survey site, new for 2012 , includes a parcel of land in the Ghyll which has just been purchased by the Town Council. 

Crowborough Conservation members will be invited to join in with these Dormouse and reptile surveys starting from late May.  We will publish dates in due course.