Sunday 13 December 2015

Mud, murk & mystery solved

Sparkling oak leaf at the Brickworks

Bovingdon (BMT): The weekend doesn’t seem to have incorporated a great deal of daylight. Darkness, yes. Drizzle, yes. Rain, yes. And, at the Brickworks, mud. Lots and lots of mud. I also have a sore throat, which of course adds to the general sense of gloom. However, in spite of all that, I thoroughly enjoyed my muddy wander this morning.

Views in the murk and mud at Bovingdon Brickworks this morning

As I walked through the mudow (that’s mud/meadow) (top left "view"), a Song Thrush was singing in the trees to my right. A crystal clear, full-bodied melody of flutes and whistles, projected far and wide. It was better than sunshine. Up ahead of me, I spotted another 5 Song Thrushes together in a bush and, behind me, 2 more. There were at least 10 around the site. A flock of 40+ Goldfinches were feeding on thistle seeds, along with Chaffinches and a mix of Tits. Last week, I’d counted at least 20 Blackbirds within the scrub and, easily, 5 Green Woodpeckers. 3 Jays gave me glimpses of white rumps and a couple of Fieldfare swapped one tree for another. Towards the end of my squelching, I chanced upon a Robin quietly singing his pretty sub-song. It was as though he was testing the air to see if anyone was listening. Delicate yet sure and another ray of sunshine.

The main reason for my visit today was to retrieve the trail camera, which had been out overnight. I modified the set up slightly by a) moving the camera much closer to the burrow entrance and b) reducing the glare of the red LEDs with some sheer red fabric taped over the top. As before, I aimed the lens into the distance, again to reduce glare, and I put out a few peanuts and sunflower hearts to entice little creatures to do more than dash, dart and streak across screen. The results weren’t bad.

I’ve put together 60 seconds worth from the 120+, 14 second clips that were captured. All occurred between 21:00 and 00:00 yesterday.

So, the mystery homemaker is definitely a mouse and we have at least 2 living in this burrow. They’re likely Wood Mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) but I think only daytime footage would clinch it (fur colour). I confess, I had hoped for Bank Voles but, even so, it’s been useful to get some experience with the trail camera and learn more about the habits of Wood Mice.


  1. Great video work Lucy, nice to be able to confirm it's mice. That's an amazing excavation they have there, they must have quite a warren under the mound.

  2. Hi Martin, thank you and I know what you mean. There's a second hole nearby with yet more excavations. They'll certainly be snug and warm if the cold weather ever arrives, lol.

  3. Lovely footage Lucy and good detective work. I wonder what else you can capture on these in the coming weeks and months.

  4. Thanks Marc, it was a fun process. It would be nice to find signs of other small mammals next year and see what comes from camera traps then. The difficulty is making sure the equipment doesn't get nicked, lol.


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