Torpid dormouse

Dormousing: July

It was hot and humid in the woods on Saturday. There was none of that delicious freshness you usually get in the shade of the trees on a summer day. It felt like a tropical rainforest, and I half expected to hear the cries of chimpanzees.

It was strangely quiet. Perhaps all the birds and animals decided that the best way to deal with the humidity was to stay quiet and still. I must admit that if I hadn’t had a good reason to be out in the woods that morning, I would probably have been sitting near a fan, trying not to do anything.

But each month there is a ten day window to carry out the dormouse box checks, and this was the only day I could do. I was helping to check a site I haven’t done before, which is always a bit of a challenge. When you don’t know where the boxes are it’s a bit like geochaching or letterboxing. Dormice boxes are often away from the beaten track, which means you have to fight your way through brambles, wade through waste high nettles, and scramble over fallen trees.

We didn’t have much luck on this check. No dormice, or signs of new nest building. Just a solitary wood mouse, a wren’s nest, and a couple of bees’ nests. We did glimpse a deer in the distance, but I think everything else was staying hidden away from the heat.

Hopefully I’ll have better luck next time.

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