If you see a 4inch animal with protruding eyes and a long tail scurrying along, what do you think you are seeing? You would probably say a mouse. Most likely a Wood mouse. However, it could be a Yellow necked mouse. Both are useful to man, as they eat harmful insects, and many trees and plants germinate from forgotten food stores.

 I shouldn’t add at this stage, but I will, is that they will also eat the material from parasols and make a very cosy bed in the parasol box. Our parasol does not give such good sun protection as it did!

The majority of the mammals we see on our mammal survey are Wood mice. However, this year we have been lucky enough to see Yellow-necked mice. They have an interesting distribution over the British isles. At Paxton Pits nature Reserve, we are on one of their limits of distribution. They differ from Wood mice, by usually being slightly bigger and having a complete band of yellow fur across the neck area. Interestingly, they seem to live in harmony in the same areas as Wood mice. They are both extremely lively when you capture them for weighing!

The dry weather isn’t putting off our dragonflies and damsels. Green-eyed hawkers and scarce Chasers were out in good numbers on the survey this week. The Emperors were also out in all their majesty. The butterflies are not fairing so well, so it was great to see our first meadow browns of the year.

Good news as well, the bird ringers were very pleased with the number they ringed on 4th June. 35 were new birds, which is the highest since the ringing was started here in 2007. Fingers crossed that the survival rates are good.

The Sunday work parties are continuing into the summer. 2 of the new Kingfisher nest boxes were dug in on the island to the right, as you walk down to the Kingfisher hide. (see photo) Hot work, but worth the outcome. It is always good when the public stop and have a chat. They had just seen a Kingfisher down at the hide.

The weather seems to have put paid to the bee orchids this year. Apparently there have been several non-flowering colonies in the East this year. Let’s hope next year they make up for it.

Always plenty to see on the reserve. I am always keen to hear about your sightings. Please send them to friends@paxton-pits.org.uk .

Best wishes


Ann Thomas

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