2022 Mammal Recorders Report
Although I was personally less active recording mammals in 2022 due to other commitments, the overall number of mammal records in the Yoredale area has increased thanks to contributions from some other members, but especially Derek Whiteley. Well done Derek!
Rodent records are relatively few, but Wood Mice featured more widely during the year with records of live animals, dead ones, hazelnuts showing tell-tale signs and skulls found in owl pellets. A small number of Field Vole and Bank Vole records came predominantly from owl pellets. Grey Squirrels were the most frequently recorded rodent with most records fortunately still coming from the eastern end of the recording area away from the Red Squirrels which tend to stick to the upper parts of the dale.
Rabbits and hares were widely reported, though it certainly does seem that Rabbits are not as common as they were a few years ago. Even so, there were counts of 300 at Street House in August where they were grazing a fairly short stretch of verge beside the A6055 and 70 at Nosterfield in September. Brown Hare records came from almost 40 different sites, with the Hackforth area still supporting a good breeding population.
There were a scattering of records of Hedgehog records in 2022 mostly from the lowlands and a small number of Common Shrew records. I found a dead Pygmy Shrew in the garden at Arrathorne, probably a victim of the neighbours’ cats. As usual, the conspicuous hills that make Moles the easiest mammal to record resulted in this species accounting for the greatest proportion of records.
Thanks to commissioned surveys plenty of bat records were added to the database representing Common and Soprano Pipistrelles, Brown Long-eared, Noctule, Natterer’s and Daubenton’s Bats. Mainly these were of small numbers in flight or roosts of individuals, but a maternity roost of around forty Daubenton’s bats were tracked down in the bridge over the Ure at Bainbridge over several evenings in the summer using observation, bat detectors and thermal cameras. It was also memorable because the temperature never fell below 20°C during the surveys sessions!
Among the carnivores Otter spraints were found at Jervaulx and Coverhead whilst an inquisitive animal was watched for some time in the River Ure near Kilgram in November. A couple of Badgers were reported dead on the roads during the year and field signs were found at several locations. A sett was confirmed to be still in use in one wood in the lower dale and a new sett became established in a site near the River Ure. No Red Foxes were reported seen, but scent or scats were noted at seven locations. There were four sightings of Stoat (one of two animals) and a dead Polecat was found at the roadside near Bainbridge.
Roe Deer reports seem to be fewer these days, away from the usual two pairs that occupy a small private wood near Hackforth that I have permission to visit. However, I did have close views of a female watching me from a field near Brompton-on-Swale in May. Roe Deer are rather inquisitive animals so by standing still, partly hidden by the hedge, I was able to get within 20 metres as she gingerly approached to investigate what I was. Five other sightings were reported during the year.