Mammals

Dormice dispersal

Are dormice moving through the Living Landscape?

Are dormice able to disperse and move between our nature reserves and other favourable habitats? Monitoring projects are being developed to assess the success of reintroduction projects and whether or not existing dormouse populations are isolated or can take advantage of habitat restoration schemes.

One such site includes Brampton Wood, the location of one of the very first dormouse reintroduction projects in the country, in 1993. Since then nest boxes have been checked on an annual basis. In 2011 the Wildlife Trust incorporated the box checks into the monitoring programme of the Cambridgeshire Boulder Clay Woodlands Ecology Group and the network of nest boxes has been expanded.

As part of this series of projects we have developed a new dormouse nest box, The Brampton, which has been successfully trialled.

Bat Pathfinders

Landscape-scale monitoring of woodland linkage projects

Our reserves alone are not enough to provide a habitat for bats and other species to survive and populations to expand. They need corridors linking different areas of habitat to allow them to move through the wider countryside.

The Pathfinder projects seek out bat commuting routes and foraging areas both on our reserves and the landscapes surrounding them to build up a clearer picture of their requirements. This information is also used for monitoring the success of habitat creation and restoration techniques

With the help of volunteers we monitor a network of reserves and connecting habitats in the Rockingham Forest Woodlands and West Cambridgeshire Hundreds. Methods used include field identification and automated recording of bat calls from transect walks and fixed points and mapping bat flight paths within and between our reserves.

Big Wetlands Bat Survey

Developing the use of large wetland reserves as surveillance sites

Large wetland nature reserves provide a valuable feeding and watering resource for bats of many different species.

Bats from a wide geographic area may congregate in large numbers at such sites, providing a valuable opportunity to sample the range of species in such an area, including migratory species, such as the Nathusius’ Pipistrelle.

Several nature reserves have been identified as target sites for the survey because they contain large wetland habitats and, in some cases, their close proximity to a major river. Most are strategically located in a Living Landscape including the Great Fen, Nene ValleyFlit Valley and Ouse Valley.

Find out more about this annual survey on the wetlands bats pages.

Bat Woodland Surveys

Discovering more about the bats using our woodland reserves

Trees and woodlands are important to all our bat species, for foraging and commuting as well as roosting. Some of our wooded reserves fall into the Pathfinder or Big Wetland Bat Surveys but not all and these others can be just as important for the bats. We are using transect surveys to increase our knowledge of which bat species are using our woodland reserves. 

Working together

Pooling resources with local bat groups to increase our knowledge

Starting in 2017 we are working more closely with the Bedfordshire and Cambridge Bat Groups to find out more about the bats on our nature reserves. So far this has involved joint transect surveys and trapping sessions, the latter involving catch the bats to check on their condition and identify some of our more cryptic and rare species.