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Torpid mammals and woodland management

Posted: Saturday 19th December 2015 by CoedPendugwmDiaries

Sleepy dormouse copyright Tamasine StrettonSleepy dormouse by Tamasine Stretton

The year has flown by and 2015 is nearly over. So, what has been going on at Coed Pendugwm?

The dormice have been very elusive this year, so it was delightful to find a very healthy 27g female in October. She was in torpor, a kind of deep sleep which saves the animal vital energy. However, it was very mild, at the time so she would have almost certainly roused again each evening, ready for a night's forage. Torpor is a great energy-saving strategy, but it does make them very vulnerable, as they are about as easy to wake up as a teenager!

On 1st November, Montgomeryshire Bat Group checked all the bat boxes on the reserve. We saw a few pipistrelles, but the real star of the show was this gorgeous little Brown Long-eared Bat.

Brown Long-eared Bat at Coed Pendugwm

She was also torpid, with her large ears tucked under her wings. Following a quick examination (and admiration!), she was rerturned to the box we had found her in.

The bat group have been surveying woodlands across Montgomeryshire over the last couple of years, looking for rare woodland bats, particularly Barbastelle. Although they have been successful elsewhere, we have yet to find any at Coed Pendugwm. However, the habitat on the reserve is perfect, so we won't stop looking.

Woodland management has been undertaken this autumn, in the form of some coppicing and thinning work. More thinning is planned for the new year. The hope is that this will open up a bit more light to the woodland floor, encouraging a good growth of flowers and a healthy understorey, which is quite thin in places. New dormouse boxes have also been erected on site; some to replace ones missing or in need or repair, but also some will be used to study colonisation of this newly coppiced area.

Coppicing & new dormouse boxes at Coed Pendugwm

If you are planning a visit to Coed Pendugwm over the Christmas holidays, please be aware that due to all the wet weather, the car park is quite squidgy in places. Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust will be working out a plan to once again improve the access, if funds allow. Watch this space!

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