In October 2015 we started a dormouse feeding signs (hazel nut) project on Wenlock Edge. The project aims to survey the entirety of Wenlock Edge in National Trust ownership and will therefore be undertaken over a number of years on a number of occasions between September and December.
The goal of the project is to see if dormouse feeding signs can be found in every area of Wenlock Edge where there is fruiting Hazel. Caroline Uff searched the Edge back in 2001 to try to find dormouse feeding signs in every kilometre square but this data is now well out of date and the new project will search the Edge much more thoroughly.
Nut searches are the most effective method of establishing dormouse presence where fruiting Hazel is present. The Hazel dormouse, as the name suggests, feeds on hazelnuts to gain much needed weight for Winter, they leave a smooth round opening with teeth marks ‘spiralling’ around the rim of the hole. Wood mice and voles also leave a round hole but their teeth marks go from the inside of the hole to the outside and are often quite messy. Hazel nuts that have been cracked open are likely to have been opened by squirrels and tiny holes are made by insects.
We are still recruiting for nibbled nut volunteers for 2017 and beyond, if you are interested in taking part in next year’s surveys then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone with a keen interest in nature, who enjoys walking and who doesn’t mind rummaging in the leaf litter for nibbled nuts can participate in the survey.