Fresh Discoveries at HBUF

We got good news recently from Neil Pullen and our friends from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, who paid a couple of visits to HBUF.

Harvest mouse sat on a twig
Harvest Mouse. Photo by Hecke – CC BY-SA 3.0

They picked a good time for it and enjoyed the surroundings and early signs of spring emerging. Neil was pleased to see the newly planted trees developing, despite some of the problems we have had.

Neil and his team spent some time searching for harvest mouse nests, as part of the Mammals Society’s National Nest search, and found two potential nests.

We can’t be 100% certain, as they had both deteriorated due to the affects of the weather this winter. But they both showed signs of woven grass nests with the weave extending and wrapping around supporting vegetation, which is typical of such nests.

The harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) weighs in at just 5-8 grams. They have golden-russet fur, a pale tummy and a semi-prehensile tail to help them cling on to the grass where they build their nests. You can find some great info on the harvest mouse on the BBC Wildlife site.

One recommendation arising from the visit was to manage the brambles that have started to dominate parts of the site, which would be beneficial for a range of plant and animal species. As luck would have it we’re already embarking on such a scheme and our next volunteer session will be tackling some of the brambles in the Ballman Field.

Brown Hairstreak butterfly. Photo by Hectonichus – Own work, CC0
Brown Hairstreak egg.
Photo by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

More good news followed from their second visit. Following the discovery of a population of Brown Hairstreak butterfly at Seven Fields local nature reserve, Neil reports discovery of their eggs at HBUF.

Neil said “The work that has been undertaken at HBUF has left the blackthorn in a perfect state for Brown Hairstreak. Great news that this butterfly seems to be spreading into the heart of Swindon”.

It’s nice to know that our efforts are paying off. All this made possible by all of our wonderful volunteers. To keep up to date with what we are up to, and for news of our volunteer sessions and a chance to get involved, why not subscribe to our mailing list?

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