The Upper Clun Community Wildlife Group (UCCWG) decided at its 2014 Annual Meeting to expand its interests in birds, butterflies and plant life to mammals (and reptiles and amphibians). The aims are to:
- Try to understand better the diversity and geographical spread of mammals, reptiles and amphibians in the Upper Clun/Clun Forest area
- Promote recording and study of mammals and reptiles in our area.
- Provide a forum for those interested in wild mammals and reptiles within the wider community and those recording other species in UCCWG.
Whether it is the wood mice and slowworms that may live in your garden, or bigger mammals like otters, foxes and deer, it would be useful to understand their distribution and population better so we can relate these to any changes in our local environment. You can help provide that understanding by recording when and where you see species.
Anyone at all can submit a record of a mammal. You don’t have to be an expert, if you are just out walking and see a mammal or one of their field signs you can submit that record. Don’t worry if you are not 100% sure about which species you have seen, as long as you provide us with as much information as you can.
How do I know what the animal is? – we will be organising a short training session (and possibly some walks) to help us be able to identify the more difficult/shyer animals in late may/early June. Date to be confirmed – if you could let Rob Harris (email@example.com) know if you are interested in attending that would be great.
How do you submit a record? – Submitting a mammal record simply involves letting us know when you observe mammals. This could be a direct sighting, seeing a field sign or even hearing a distinctive species’ call. The information we need for a record is:
What the species is (if you can try and get a photo to submit with your record that greatly helps),
Where it was seen – grid reference if possible.
When it was seen,
Who saw it (name and email of observer – an email in case there is a query about the record, as they all have to be verified).
Photos are not a necessary component of a record but if you are able to get one they are incredibly useful for verifying records.
There is a recording sheet downloadable here: mammal recording form or you can just send details to Rob Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org). Certain details would be useful for each mammal record and guidelines are given below for what information is best for recording purposes. Please make sure that all fields are as complete as possible (for instance, if you are not sure of the exact grid reference, a description of the place is better than nothing). Only include a mammal record when you are certain of the identity of the species seen.
- Provide an accurate date for the record.
- Write either the common name or scientific name (please identify different species – e.g. harvest mouse, yellow necked mouse as opposed to ‘mouse’). In the case of bats – unidentified bat sightings can be recorded as ‘bat species’.
- Give a location along with the grid reference, for example, field, road name, etc. This allows us to verify grid references.
- Typical types of record are: live sightings, dead animals, tracks, burrows.
- Add any notes that you feel may be relevant, e.g. number of individuals seen.
- There is interest in all mammal species in the Upper Clun area no matter how common, as little information exists for even common animals like frogs or rabbits.
For those out surveying for plants, birds or butterflies, it would be useful if you could record incidental sightings or signs of mammals. Any estimate of the numbers of a particular species you see on your survey visits (no matter how rough) is more useful than recording ‘too many to count’, ‘present’, etc.
Please also indicate the method(s) by which the presence of the species was observed. It may be
- Live animals seen by you
- Dead animals – e.g. on the roadside
- Field signs – e.g. tracks, droppings, molehills
- Local knowledge of presence – e.g. from a landowner