The Devon Wildlife Trust's annual Wildlife Festival will be taking place in Plymouth city centre this year on Saturday 27 April 2013, from 10am until 4pm.
Due to some of the Committee being away on holiday at the time of the event we urgently need some volunteers to work on the DMG stall. It's a great chance to present the group to the public and hear some interesting mammal-related stories. Anyone can help out and mammal knowledge isn't essential - the most popular activity on our stall is usually the mask and finger-puppet making so skill with scissors and felt tip pens is important as well!
Even if you can only pop along for a couple of hours we could still use your help, so if you are free that day please get in touch through our contact form.
For anyone who wasn't able to attend Miriam's recent book launch of "Otter Country" at Exeter University, there will be another chance to hear her speak at the Chagword literary festival in Chagford at 10am on Saturday 16th March.
Prize-winning poet Miriam Darlington is being hailed as one of the leading voices in the new generation of British nature writers. Here she shares her extraordinary year-long journey through different landscapes, seasons, weather and light in pursuit of one of Britain's most beloved and elusive creatures, the wild otter. En route, she talks to otter experts, conservationists, ecologists, walkers, zoo-keepers, fishermen, scientists, hunters, and fellow poets - but above all she learns how to track and be around otters, and that the stillness required to spy this shy animal can bring many unexpected wonders.
Tickets £6.50, book online at http://www.chagword.com/#/miriam-darlington/4569092058 or call 07564 025303
Rare and secretive dormice are sometimes seen visiting garden bird feeders. Based on sightings reported to Devon Biodiversity Records Centre between 1999-2009, Stephen Carroll investigated this further, analysing ‘dormouse gardens’ and their surrounding landscape features.
Gardens visited by dormice were generally in rural or rural edge areas, and although sometimes some distance from large woodlands or other suitable habitat, were often linked by hedgerow networks. Hedge quality was also found to be an important factor within individual gardens. The findings relate to other studies of dormouse populations in fragmented woodland habitats.
You can read the full report here.
Stephen's work was funded by the Devon Mammal Group's Small Grant Scheme, which was set up to support mammal-related research and conservation in the county. If you have a project and would be interested in applying for a grant please contact us.
This week's edition of BBC Radio 4's "Saving Species" programme looks at mammals, with a focus on UK species, and also talks about the Mammal Society's atlas project.
Listen online here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qdvlk
Not a DMG event, but may be of interest to members:
An event to celebrate the publication by Granta of current Exeter University PhD student Miriam Darlington's new book.
11 December 2012, 18:00 to 20:00
Queen's Senior Common Room,
The Department of English and the Centre for South West Writing are very pleased to celebrate the publication by Granta of current PhD student Miriam Darlington’s book, 'Otter Country'. Darlington is described as a prominent voice in the new generation of British nature writers.
'Otter Country' follows Darlington's search through different landscapes, seasons, weather and light, as she tracks one of Britain's most elusive animals. During her journey, she meets otter experts, the Environment Agency, conservationists, ecologists, walkers, Henry Williamson's family, Gavin Maxwell's heir; zoo keepers, fishermen, scientists, hunters and poets. Above all she learns how to track and be around otters, and that the stillness required to actually see this shy animal can bring many unasked-for wonders.
Miriam Darlington will give readings from her book and copies are available from Blackwells. Wine will be served during the evening.
A road casualty pine marten has been found near Newtown in Powys – the first known carcass in Wales since 1971. DNA analysis carried out at Waterford Institute of Technology has provided unequivocal evidence that this is a pine marten native to the British Isles. The animal was a young male.
‘The significance of this find cannot be overstated,’ said Natalie Buttriss, Chief Executive with The Vincent Wildlife Trust. ‘It adds to the body of evidence supporting the long-held view of mammal experts that this attractive tree-dwelling animal does exist in Wales, but in such low numbers that very few people ever see one.’
In the last 20 years, The Vincent Wildlife Trust has received more than 300 credible reports of sightings of pine martens in Wales and has built up a map of ‘hot spot’ areas. Until today, however, the most recent unequivocal evidence was a pine marten scat found in Cwm Rheidol forest in 2007 and later positively DNA tested.
For more information please visit: http://www.vwt.org.uk/news/Vincent-wildlife-trust-blog/vwt-blogs/2012/11/07/pine-marten-found-in-Wales-the-first-in-40-years
As many members will be aware, DMG holds a small stock of mammal-related publications which are available for purchase at talks and other events.
We currently have some out-of-print titles for sale, at a very modest price and with free postage. Stock is very limited, so check out our book sale page: http://www.devonmammalgroup.org/?page_id=465 and see if you can find yourself a bargain!
Exeter Bat Group (a subgroup of Devon Bat Group)
DMG’s spring ‘Pips and pints’ bat walks around central Exeter have proven popular over the last 5 years. The most recent event at Catacombs park, St David’s, found plenty of common and soprano pipistrelle activity as well as the rare Nathusius pipistrelle foraging over the river near the quay. Now a voluntary project set up by members of Devon Bat Group, Exeter DWT Local Group and Devon Mammal Group looks to expand this regular slot in the DMG calendar via an Exeter bat sub-group.
The aim is to explore historical, but recently unmonitored sites around the city, as well as survey new locations, to build up a better picture of bat presence and activity. At the same time these survey sessions will be an opportunity to gain experience using bat detectors and identifying bats.
The group is looking to undertake a number of surveys around Exeter during spring and summer 2013 (and there may be a chance of some winter events too). If you would like to join the group for a survey or two, or if you have a suggested site or building which you know/suspect is used by bats and would like to help survey it, please let us know. When suggesting sites for survey it would be great if the site is either open to the public or if the owner is known and happy to have us loitering around at dusk!
You can contact the Exeter subgroup (preferably) by email to the group’s Google forum email@example.com or via the Devon Bat Group website: http://www.dbg.me.uk/ or, if internet access is a problem, please phone Greg Slack 07581 536488.
For the second year running Somerset Environmental Records Centre is running a bat survey in the Blackdown Hills.
A training workshop for those interested in taking part will be run in Churchinford on May 25th, and the survey itself will take place on July 20th.
For more information please visit the SERC site here: http://www.somerc.com/view-news/2012/03/09/The+Blackdown+Hills+Big+Bat+Survey+2012/
For more info see: http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/birdsandbees/bioblitz-2012/