Most Cumbrian sightings of the Hazel Dormouse are in Roudsea Woods, near Haverthwaite. Although always rare in the County, the Victorian natural historians knew that they also lived in the Rusland Valley, at Ayside and near Kendal. The Rusland Valley has the right habitat for the hazel dormouse and there are rumours that they have been seen in the last 10 years, but we don’t have any firm evidence. Dougie Watson (Rusland Horizons Woodlands and Wildlife Officer) together with local community volunteers, has been installing and monitoring dormouse nesting boxes in the valley over the past 18 months, but so far there has been no success in finding any signs of dormice.
However, so far the project has not looked for dormice in the Bowkerstead/Satterthwaite area so the ‘Bioblitz’ event to be held this weekend - 30th June / 1st July - gives a great opportunity. We will be setting some traps during the week before the event. No animals will be harmed as we will be setting footprint traps, which are a cardboard tunnel with some bait in the middle and ink pads at each end. If an animal goes in it leaves behind footprints. We also have some sticky tubes, which collect hairs as a small mammal moves through.
The Bioblitz is a great way to get involved in wildlife monitoring: anyone attending will be able to help study the footprints and the hairs to work out what has been visiting our traps. Dougie will also be doing a guided walk to explain more about the life of a dormouse and what signs they need to look for. The more people we have looking for dormice the more chance we have of finding them. It would be a really momentous occasion if we did find evidence of a dormouse during the event.
The Bowkerstead Bioblitz, a free family-friendly event, takes place at the Grizedale Campsite, Bowkerstead Farm, Satterthwaite, LA12 8LL from 4pm on Saturday 30 June to 4pm on Sunday 1st July. Activities will include an evening bat walk, butterfly hunt, guided walks, moth trapping, and tracking mammals. The event is being run by Rusland Horizons and Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre.
For a full programme and further information visit the Bioblitz webpage
Or visit our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RuslandHorizons/events