2019 has been another year of surprises, with oodles of positive outcomes. As such, I thought it worth celebrating all of the groups’ hard work this year by rounding up all of your achievements and discoveries.
I think perhaps by far our biggest discovery was the dispersal of dormice into Silcock Wood which is adjacent to Gamston Wood. Very early in to the 2019 season we discovered a pregnant female in one of the 10 boxes that we installed. Each month after that we recorded more and more dormice inhabiting the boxes which led to the setting up of 10 additional boxes. During installation a pregnant female and wild nest was discovered very close to the railway line. Hopefully, the dormice have already started to disperse along the rail-track habitat and further afield.
Overall, dormouse numbers continue to rise in all three woodlands. Looking at the data, Gamston appears to have come out as the overall winner, however, the data includes the Silcock Wood dormice and therefore once again we must crown Treswell Wood as the King of all woodlands.
As many of you will know, the reintroduction in Treswell Wood was undertaken in 2013 and during the next three years dormouse sightings were low. However, things started to improve over subsequent years and numbers have been increasing ever since, with 2019 being our best year yet. This may of course be attributed in part to the further release of eleven new dormice to the woodland in June, to increase the genetic diversity of the population. We also recorded dormice in 3 new sections, C, K & L. In terms of squatting dormice, the bird-ringing team have recorded less incidents, though we have still had a couple of dormice hijack bird boxes. A wild dormouse nest was also recorded recently in bramble scrub along the edge of D-section.
Gamston wood has seen a steady increase all year (this data includes Silcock Wood), with numbers spiking in September and October, likely due to dispersing juveniles. In the spring we mounted boxes along the western and southern boundaries, and later in the year recorded dormice in both sections, L-section on the western boundary became our most productive section, with 6 out of the 10 boxes recording dormice including litters. K-section, which was also new this year, recorded several dormice including a pregnant female in August and September. In terms of overall sections inhabited, Gamston wood was the most productive, with dormice recorded in 9 different woodland compartments (sections).
Each year since the reintroduction to Eaton Wood in 2014, dormouse numbers have been relatively low. This year however we recorded our best numbers yet. Michael and Dave braved the jungle that is J-section (optimal scrub habitat) to install 20-boxes, this section has proven to be our most productive section so far. We have plans to increase the number of boxes for the 2020 season. In terms of management, Eaton Wood is behind the other two woodlands, but with all the work that the Dormouse Group, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and woodsman Ray Lister and his team have done so far to enhance the woodland, we can expect dormouse numbers to increase over the next 3 or 4 years.