The main purpose of our survey was to see if we could find any Water Shrews. The fact that we have found Water Shrew in Stowey Reserve twice in 5 years, less than 250 metres away as the crow flies, makes us think that there is a good chance of finding them in both reserves.
We concentrated most of our traps, 35, along the bank of the rhyne on the north east boundary of the field. The rhynes on the other boundaries were cleaned out this year and are providing very little cover this spring. The other 14 traps were spread equally across the reserve. The traps were put in position on the Friday evening and checked on both Saturday and Sunday, morning and evening before being collected on Monday morning.
We caught 8 Bank Voles, 3 were caught more than once. We caught no Shrews or Field Voles although there was an abundance of field signs of vole activity. Field Voles are known to be ‘trap shy’ so it is no surprise that we did not catch any. It was disappointing not to catch any shrews at all although it does not mean that they are not there.
It is worth remembering that Stowey is the reserve that we have surveyed the most often and we have only caught 2 Water Shrews with a 5 year interval between them. We will monitor the level of cover on the banks of the rhynes in Kenn Moor after the cattle have completed the annual grazing and if suitable will repeat this exercise in the autumn when it is normal for small mammal numbers to be higher.