Wood Mouse Log

Sunday 17/10/21

Weather : Perfect Autumn Weather, Cold mornings, Sunny afternoons. No rain for the last week.

Notes : Since the last mouse log update in July  we’ve started to let our two cats out into the garden, roaming freely day and night, and I’m afraid this has had a major, and rather detrimental impact on the mice. They have become by far the favourite prey of the cats who have caught and killed many of them.

The cats have also had some negative impact on the birds but I’ve made some changes, particularly to the positioning of the bird feeders, so that there is some protection. But there is really little I can do for the mice.

I would estimate that on average the cats have been taking about 3 a week. Despite this I’ve continued to catch quite a few in the humane trap in the garden shed. So there are clearly a lot of mice around and at least some capable of evading the lurking cat menace.

However I don’t think I should do anything to encourage more mice into the garden so I decided to remove the mouse house.

When removing it I opened it up and had a bit of a nose inside. I didn’t find anything startling, a couple of nice spiders aside.

There were lots of little black empty seed cases which I guess the mice had been eating. The only ‘clue’ I found were the presence of sycamore seeds.

There are Sycamore trees in the gardens of a couple of my neighbours and they were obviously providing part of the mouse diet.

So I think in these conditions it is time to close out the mouse log and concentrate on some of the other animals and birds. To be honest I didn’t really manage to learn a lot with the limited means that I deployed. The mice are very small, secretive and highly mobile. Except on a couple of occasions they were only visible in the mouse house for a few minutes. The best recording I managed was when a mouse stayed pretty much the hole day on the 26th July.

Prior to the intervention of the cats I was considering putting in place a much more elaborate mouse house, perhaps with several interconnected chambers. This may have provided a more interesting environment for them, and one in which they would therefore have spent more time.

However with the cats in the ascendency I think I will leave the little fellas in peace and hope they find a nicer and safer environment somewhere else.

Monday 26/07/21

Weather : Cool, cloudy and occasional rain showers

Notes : The amount of mouse action has increased again over the last week. I’m still catching and releasing mice in the shed but I’ve also been picking up more sightings on the nigh time trail cameras. A personal favourite below, drinking from the dish and heading into the hedgehog feed station to see what can be found.

All of this activity is happening around the habitat pile, on the right of the screen, at the bottom of which is the little mouse house.

Here I’ve been recorded quite regular visits and I also had two mice visit at the same time and check it out.

Then this morning a mouse arrived in the house at 08:00 and stayed all day, generally sleeping but with the occasional forage outside or burst of activity to rearrange the newspaper bedding. This is an absolute first as I’ve never had a mouse stay that long before, spending all day at rest in the house.

There was also a really interesting moment during the afternoon when a second mouse entered the house, but this time it was clearly an unwelcome visitor. The ‘resident’ went rather berserk for the 2 or 3 seconds it took to scare the new arrival off. It was a really interesting behaviour which unfortunately I failed to catch on video.

Then the mouse just got back to sleeping.

As I write this the mouse is still nestled into the house in the corner where it has spent more or less the whole day. Well within camera range, well done mouse.

I have managed to fix my technical difficulties, so a reasonable quality live stream is not up and available here.  I’ll keep it going for the next few days to see if there are any further developments.

Sunday 18/07/21

Weather : Finally starting to see some summer temperatures after a period of cool, wet weather.

Notes : The last louse Log entry was over a month ago and since this time there has been quite a bit of mouse activity going on in the garden, starting with my garden shed.

It was in the shed that I caught a rat in my newly installed, and very humane, trap back in May. Since then I’ve kept the trap open in the shed and over the last weeks I’ve been catching lots of little Wood Mice. Typically one every couple of nights.

I even installed a camera onto the trap to watch the comings and goings. Although the mouse keeps getting caught I’ve seen that maybe it is learning. Here it is not going in, deciding against taking the risk.

Also trying to get at the cheese without going inside.

First thing to say is that each time I release the trapped mouse at the end of my garden, somewhere near the mouse house I installed under a pile of garden debris, my habitat pile. I’ve really no way of knowing if it is the same mouse that keeps coming back to the shed, there is always a gap of a couple of days, or if it is a different member of a group.

I can say that I’ve never captured more than one mouse on camera at the same time, which does appear to be a clue.

But I have also started to see a mouse using more regularly the mouse house at the bottom of the garden. Near where I release the captives.  Very obligingly this time the mouse seems to be installing himself in the opposite corner to the camera, where I can see him!

I’ve not been watching the mouse house very much whilst I was concentrating on the Robin nest so I’m not sure how often or for how long the mouse has been back using the house. What I can see is clear evidence of mouse poo, basically in the same corner of the box.

This would indicate that it is being used quite regularly.

Is it the same mouse that is also getting caught in the trap in the shed or are they different individuals? I don’t know.  I’ve never filmed or logged a mouse in the shed and the mouse house at the same time but as the visits to both are quite brief and irregular it is very difficult to say. I imagine in my garden there could or perhaps should be multiple mice, but without ringing them, as you do with birds, there is really no way I can tell. And rank amateur as I am, I’m not going to start ringing mice!

But the level of activity is encouraging, potentially showing a healthy population and this despite the fact that I’ve introduced two domestic cats into my garden, a huge predator threat. I’ve been letting my cats out for around a month and although unfortunately they have killed a couple of small birds, they have not to my knowledge taken any mice. Yet.

Sunday 06/06/21

Weather : Warm Sunny week with a couple of days of thunderstorms in the middle.

Notes : I’ve had very little mouse action to report and no discernible visits to the mouse house box. I think I’ve rather over buried it too far into the habitat pile which I’ve added to quite considerably since the start of the year.

I definitely want to go with a different design, so that I eliminate the camera blindspots, and also a different location. I think I’ll make these changes over the Summer as I might get some autumn/Winter action.

Although I say that the mouse house has not been visited there was quite a change to the newspaper stuffing inside this week. I didn’t have the camera on so I don’t know what happened. It looks like the paper got very wet. We did have a very big storm this week so maybe the rain got into the box. However I find this a little odd as the box is very well hidden in the habitat pile and also quite water tight. It is a bit of a mystery. I’ve been more closely monitoring the inside since this happened but I’ve not seen any visitors.

My neighbours have told me that they are often seeing mice in their garden and they think that they are nesting in their shed. So perhaps ‘my’ garden mice have found a better place to live.

The last sighting I had in my garden was the 30th May when one showed up on the trail cameras.

Monday 19/04/21

Weather : General dry and clear, cold during the nights but warming in the afternoons.

Notes : I didn’t spot any mouse activity at all during the week and nothing in the mouse house. Hmm.

Sunday 11/04/21

Weather : Very cold, a few hard overnight frosts, and then a lot of rain at the end of the week.

Notes : Again a few signs of mouse activity, the mouse house is being occasionally visited.

Unfortunately whenever a mouse is inside the box it spends all of it’s time under the camera, in my bling spot, so I can’t tell what is going on. This is a clear design fault with my mouse house that I’ll need to fix with an upgraded model.

Filming a vertical bird box is easy, they nest at the bottom, a mouse seems to be a bit trickier!

Sunday 04/04/21

Weather : Sunny Spring weather, very warm in the afternoons.

Notes : A few signs of mouse activity this week. A couple of times I saw the mouse in the habitat pile on the trail camera. This is now much bigger as I’ve pile on the cuttings from one of the large shrubs which I’ve removed from the garden.

I’ve also seen a couple of short visits into the mouse house. I think this is just the mouse running around investigating the habitat pile. It darted in and out and did not stay long. There were only a couple of visits during the week.

I haven’t yet seen the mice anywhere else in the garden during the day. Last year this became quite a regular occurrence at different stages but I think I’ll need to wait for warmer weather.

Sunday 28/03/21

Weather : Chilly nights but generally warm sunny days, a few heavy rain showers.

Notes : Absolutely no signs of mouse activity this week. Nothing in the mouse house or around the garden in general.

I’m sure they’ll be back but for now nothing to report.

Sunday 21/03/21

Weather : Cold week, some heavy showers.

Notes: Another longer visit on the 15th March.

During this visit the mouse was int the house from 10:11 to 10:24 in the morning. Strangely nearly exactly the same time of day as the long visit on 11th March, probably a coincidence.

And that was the last mouse spot either in the house or on the trail cameras. It’s been a cold week so they may be lying low. Alternatively they may have moved on for now or perhaps had an unfortunate encounter with a predator (Cat).

However following the excitement of last week it has been a bit quiet.

Sunday 14/03/21

Weather: Cold and Clear and then turning windy with some heavy rain showers.

Notes: Things have been happening in the mouse house, I just don’t know what they are.

The story from the week is that as from the 9th March I started to see daily visits into the mouse house. Then on the 10th a very long visit of around 5 minutes, much longer than anything I’ve seen before.

During the visit on the 10th I could also see some movement in the newspaper. Unfortunately I was recording in multiscreen and the Mouse video was pretty small. I zoomed in a couple of stills but they were inconclusive.

Then on the 11th the number of visits exploded. I was seeing a mouse enter literally every couple of minutes over several hours, from 05:30 to 08:00. These were very quick visits, each of only a few seconds.

Very very unfortunately it was impossible to see clearly as the tricky little mouse was spending it’s time in the house under the camera, in my blind spot. Unbelievable bad luck.

I had a slightly longer visit at 09:45 in the morning, see video below.

Then the mouse arrived at 10:04 and stayed until 10:29, again underneath the camera so I didn’t get a clean view. However this was by far the longest time a mouse has spent in the house. Was it eating, resting or something else?

What I do know is that after the burst of activity, which finished with the long visit at 10:29 the situation returned more or less to normal. An occasional visit over the next days and in general the mouse is spending its time in the house under the camera.

I’m not sure what to conclude from all this. Is the mouse building a nest under the camera? The repeated visits could have been to bring in nesting material, although I couldn’t see anything obvious in its mouth. Perhaps the visits were to build up a food store which the mouse is now dipping in to.  On a basic level I don’t know if this was a single mouse or many different mice or if it is a Male or Female. My list of unknowns is long.

I also caughta few glimpses of a mouse in the habitat pile at night, taken on the trail camera. On the video below the mouse eyes are showing up on the right hand side of the pile of garden waste, at the bottom of which is the mouse house. (You need to look closely)

It’s great that the house is being used for something, but I’ll need to keep watching for more clues to understand exactly what is going on.

Sunday 07/03/21

Weather: Colder week. Very little rain.

Notes: I’ve seen 2 mouse visits during the week. On both occasions the mouse does fuss much with the Newspaper, it seems that the dome like structure is completed. The visits seem quite short and it is maybe just to check that everything is still OK.

Because the mouse is not moving the nesting material very much it is quite difficult to spot when it actually visits into the nest. I could easily be missing some visits at this stage.

Sunday 28/02/21

Weather: Sunny and warm. Getting slightly colder as the week went on. Very little rain.

Notes: Watching the mouse house during the week I seemed to notice an interesting evolution in the nesting material. It may be my imagination but the inside does now appear to look like a dome shaped nest.

I’ve taken a few pictures over the days to chart the evolution.

What is certainly true is there has been quite a change since the mouse started to visit.  If this has been a deliberate rearrangement of the nesting material it’s quite clever on the part of the mouse. There have been numerous visits but each only last around a minute and the mouse seems to move in quite a random fashion.

Sunday 21/02/21

Weather: Warm week, sunny with only a little rain. Spring!

Notes: Several more visits by the mouse in the house this week. A personal favourite below.

Each time the mouse seems to have a good look round but only ever stays for a minute. So no real indication that it is interested in the location as a nest site.

Sunday 14/02/21

Weather: Very Cold all week. Snow on the ground and freezing temperatures at night.

Notes: The mouse has been into the house. Success. I’ve seen a mouse on the camera a couple of times but I only managed to record one good sequence.

Unfortunately the cats were straight away onto the scent, so it will of course be a cat and mouse battle.

Sunday 07/02/21

Weather: Very wet again this week lots of rain.

Notes: Still nothing in the mouse house but again I recorded a visit to the hedgehog house.

I did record a mouse in the habitat pile on one night last week, the eyes were clearly visible on the hedgehog camera. So this was encouraging, they are definitely in or using the habitat pile.

To try and encourage them to come and check out the mouse house I placed a few peanuts next to the entrance. Hoping that it helps.

Sunday 31/01/21

Weather: Warmer but much wetter again this week. Lots of Rain.

Notes: No mouse activity in the mouse house but I did capture a short video of a mouse visiting the hedgehog house during the night.

I assume that it is a wood mouse but the markings are quite strange with several obvious darker patches on the fur.

It does indicate that the mice are still occasionally active at this time.

Sunday 24/01/21

Weather: Cold and week all week. A couple of snow flurries

Notes: No mouse activity to report but the update of the week is that I’ve installed a camera equiped mouse house in the garden.

After thinking about which activity I may reasonably expect to be able to capture on camera, and understanding that the mice are very active in the garden, I thought there might be a chance to get them to use a prepared box. I therefore made and installed one, although obviously we have to call it a mouse house.

All the details of the mouse house are available here.

I installed it on the 20th January and as of yet I’ve not had any signs of activity, but the year is long and I’ll be patient. I’ve installed it in the habitat pile which I think is a good location and if I’m lucky they may use if as one of their food storage places or even a nest site.

I’ve included below a shot of inside the box as it is now, I provided the shredded newspaper as a bedding material.

Sunday 03/01/21

Weather: First cold snap of the year started from Friday. Temperatures regularly below 0oC at night. Plenty of rain.

Notes: Captured the activity of a mouse on the Hedgehog trail camera during the night of 2nd-3rd January. It was a cold damp night but no frost with the temperature staying above freezing.

The mouse was probably taking stray seeds from underneath the bird feeders, which is just behind this camera view. The last video segment I got was the mouse entering the habitat pile just to the right of the hedgehog fence hole.

They are seldom seen as this time of the year so it was reassuring to see some activity and also that the habitat pile is still being used. I hope that the mouse is using it as one of its nest sites.

Sunday 13/12/20

Weather: Generally cold and wet and the first overnight frost of the year.

Notes: I have been leaving the trail cameras out every night but I have recorded very little activity. The hedgehogs are hibernating and the beech marten has not visited for a couple of months.

Wood mice do not hibernate and although they are less active at this time of year, they are still active. Even then I have seen very little of them but this week I did get a short video of one showing that they are of course still there.

Sunday 18/10/20

Weather : drier this week although with some colder temperatures.

Notes : I would say that there has been slightly less mouse activity in the garden during this autumn period compared to the spring. I have spotted some mice from time to time mainly caught on the trail cameras pointed at the habitat pile and compost heap.

As an experiment I placed a still camera in the compost heap to see what was going on inside. Straight away on the first night I got several pictures of a mouse taking from the top of the heap.

There are lots of potential nest sites around the compost heap, including the habitat pile. Added to the supply of food available from the heap it is not surprising that it is an active site for the mice.

Sunday 13/09/20

Weather : Warm and sunny all week. No rain.

Notes : I will not be making a weekly log update for the mouse activity, simply because with all the various logs and records to keep up to date I need to prioritise slightly! However I will make an entry for any week when there is notably activity and I have supporting video or photos.

Just to start the log I will create a record for this week although the mouse activity has not been enormous. I have seen two separate individuals feeding at the same time on the seeds which have fallen from the bird feeders. It is a popular location for the mice, I have seen them there earlier in the year, and they either have a nest or a food store in the nearby wall. They dart in and out of a crack where two sections of the wall join. However this week I have no actually footage of them.

The only footage I have is in an entirely different location on the other side of the garden. This time in the habitat pile close to the hedgehog passage into the neighbours garden.

You can see the mouse in the video below, look for the eyes.

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