Thursday, 28 October 2010

While the birds are away…

…the mice will play. Since taking down my bird feeders last week after the finch disease Trichomonosis was spotted in my garden, bird numbers of visiting birds are dropping rapidly. I expected that.

However, being a mostly nocturnal animal I did not expect to see how comfortable the little wood mouse below has been out in the open now.




As you can see it still hides in the rock spaces around my small rocky pond. When I put in this pond, I deliberately built hidden pockets for toads and frogs with the rocks. I also hoped a wren would build a nest in this area as it is spotted there too. Alas no. I’ve another plan for that idea now.

Although a little blurred in the next photo (as the mouse was moving) I loved the way it pulled itself up from the rock pocket. If this mouse was moving fast it would have been very blurred. So you can see that it was in no hurry.




The wood mouse appeared to be finding little bits of food left on the ground. I had scattered some roasted chopped hazelnuts on the ground around the rocks pre trichomonosis after finding them in a store cupboard during a tidy-up. I guess it was finding them.

Looking up a wildlife book on my shelf I see that feeding signs to look for with a wood mouse can be fir cones with scales gnawed off (neatly) and hazelnuts with teeth marks around the outside of a hole. Well then, my tiny offerings must have been wood mouse heaven!

Regular readers will have seen recent video of a wood mouse carrying away mealworms and storing them under our hedgehog house. I also had footage of the daddy-long-legs taking the mealworms in that posting too. Now that was spooky to see.

On many other occasions, I have also seen wood mice run away with sunflower hearts at night and during the day. During the day they have once again been taken in to the tunnels around my rock pool pond. At night too.

What was interesting about the behaviour of the wood mouse the other day was that, without the birds running round this area, it ate al fresco. It was quite relaxed about it too. Watching it, especially with no birds about, I considered that a cat might fancy an al fresco meal too! If it did, thankfully I never saw it.

Referring back my Pocket Wildlife book this morning I see that a wood mouse (being a forager of woodland floors) is an opportunist. I would definitely agree with that. When in season, its diet includes seeds, nuts, fruits and fungi.

Now, I wondered who might be eating from my small garden clump of fungi. Interestingly, a wood mouse will also feed on insects and invertebrates. I didn’t know that either. You might guess now what I am planning next.

Yes, you guessed right! I’m going to move my outside cam to view the fungi clump at night. I may see nothing but I’m seeing nothing outside the hedgehog house anyway… I might get some spooky viewing!

The photos of the wood mouse today had been planned as a Wordless posting on a Wednesday. Other bloggers take part with this. Alas, some chatting elsewhere kept me from doing this. I’ll come back to that another time. I’m all chatted out for the moment... well, almost!




Spookily, at the moment, when I look out my window gardenwatching I feel it is the garden visitors that are watching me! The Blackbirds almost stare back straight at me. Thank goodness they don't have the deep beady eyes of the wood mouse.

Only the Dunnocks seem to be out there feeding as usual. I’ll get my post on them tied up soon. Having lots of distractions at the moment.... good ones though. I’ll tell you about a particular one in a few weeks - chatting has been involved ;-)

Wishing you a great wildlife watching and gardening weekend if you can. Enjoy Halloween too.




We have a Halloween Birthday in our household. This year, it's one of those big ones for our eldest daughter… she is about to leave her teens!! Now, that’s spooky for her. Mm... until now, I never considered that’s even more spooky for us!!

Enjoy time with your family this weekend. We will :-D


The photos of the wood mouse shown above were taken in my garden on October 26th 2010.

24 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your little wood mouse is adorable. I hope he doesn't come inside for the winter. I know there are mice around my garden too but they never pose. I see them scurrying around or they venture into our garage. UGH. I hope you have a great weekend too.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Oh, what a face! I have never seen such a cute mouse! Lisa is right - it is adorable!!! I need to show it to my boys. Thank you for the info, too! Have a great party!

Carol said...

Little wood mice are very cute and your portrait sure captures their little black eyes! If only they would stay outside! Happy Birthday to your daughter! ;>)

ShySongbird said...

Oh dear, I'm all behind again :( I read your post on the dreaded disease on the day you posted it but was short of time so intended to come back to comment but somehow you got away from me! It is a horrible disease, I saw signs of it here two years ago and it is very distressing to witness. I do hope that in time they may become immune to it.

It was interesting too to read of what is happening in your garden at the moment plant wise. I was pleased to see your perennial wallflower is still doing well, that is one plant I did get round to putting in my garden this year, it will be interesting to see if it lasts any longer than the last one.

On this post I just love the photos of your little mouse! It looks so sweet, peeking out like that :)

Have a wonderful weekend Shirl and a Very Happy (but not too spooky!) Birthday to your daughter :)

Patsi said...

We have what are called field mice. It may be the same...sure don't hang around long enough to take a picture.
Nice job.
Good luck with the party.

shirl said...

Hi Lisa, isn’t it just :-)

What I meant to add to my post was I watched this mouse run around under plants looking like it was collecting material. I never saw exactly where it took it but it didn’t leave the pond area. Hopefully it was redecorating a pond cave for winter and it will have no need to come inside the house.

UGH… indeed. I hate to think any make it into our garage. In our previous old shed (with rotten bits) mice made it in there. I store my bird food there and it made a cosy home in a jar with a variety of material in it. Needless to say I went… UGH.

Thanks, hope your storm has died down and you can enjoy your weekend too :-D

shirl said...

Hello again Tatyana, quite a picture!

A picture of innocence too… I bet one of its kind have been munching through my bulbs. Hope your boys enjoy seeing it. I enjoyed collecting the info… blogging is good for that :-)

Thanks, looking forward to seeing my daughter home for the weekend. She’s looking forward to coming home too and the Party is just the icing on the cake… oh… better get that made too!

Enjoy your weekend with your boys :-D

shirl said...

Hi Carol, yes very cute. Although, I feel these really dark beady eyes perhaps hide a sinister side. I wonder why they need to be so big on such a small face. I guess it’s something to do with having good sight in the dark.

Yes, I’d prefer it stays outdoors too. Here’s hoping I’ve made the pond area an attractive enough alternative :-)

Thanks, I’m really looking forward to having my daughter home for the weekend. As I said above, the party is a bonus. Enjoy your weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hello again, Jan. I fully understand how it goes. It’s always nice to have you visit when you can :-)

Yes, the tricho is awful for the birds. In the last few days I haven’t seen that Greenfinch. I do believe the male Chaffinch that followed it to the hosta had it too. The birds are slowly getting the message that there is no food here. All except the Dunnock. It’s business as usual for it :-)

Good luck with getting your wallflower through the winter. I’m guessing you’ve enjoyed it through the year. Fingers crossed :-)

Thanks, it was fun trying to capture the character of this little mouse with my camera.

Thank-you, my daughter will appreciate your birthday wishes. Lol… she’s always had a spooky birthday. I’ve had great fun decorating the house over the years. Got fancy balloons for this year… they have tiny LED’s in them. In a purple shade, a large group will be the spooky lighting for the room. Looking forward to see them.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend too :-D

shirl said...

Hello again, Patsi. Nice to see you. Just left a comment on your post but not sure it got through. Just going to bed now so I will look again tomorrow. I enjoy the changes in the plants just now too :-D

Yes, field mice are similar I think. Usually our wood mice don’t hang around much either. This was unusual to see one, not being nervous, out in the open during the day. Thanks, I had fun trying to get my photos. I watched this mouse for a while.

Thanks, my wish for the party is that my daughter and her friends enjoy it. I’ll be in the background. Pity my PC is in the party room as I could have caught up on my favourite blogs and bloggers :-D

PurestGreen said...

Incredible photos. I love the wee splayed feet on the last photo. I imagine you just like a photographer on the plains of East Africa, holding still, breath held for the perfect shot. But you are in your garden, and this delightful mouse is just as amazing as any wilderbeast.

Midmarsh John said...

Brilliant photos of the Wood Mouse Shirl. It will be interesting to see what it get up to when you move the camera.

Have a great weekend and watch out for the paper spiders ;)

easygardener said...

Lovely pictures. I like the ears on woodmice - so big and twitchy. It is obviously enjoying the extra peace and quiet in the garden without the birds. Must be mouse paradise!

Layanee said...

He is a cute little guy but all too often these little creatures find their way into my home and leave their 'presents' around the cupboard. If they would just stay outside....sigh. Happy birthday to your oldest.

Gardeningbren said...

The little white feet have my attention. Have found many little critters here in our garden in Nova Scotia, but do not recall any mice with the tiny white pitter patters yours have.

He is adorable, and your photos do him justice! The Captain wants us to get a garden web cam now...and you started it!!!! BIG SMILE

Happy B'day to your oldest!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

What a cute little face. They like to get into and under houses around here so they aren't as welcome. As long as they stay outside I don't mind them.
Happy Birthday to your daughter.

shirl said...

Hello again Purest Green, thank-you. I love your description :-D

Lol… yes I was sitting still but comfortably on my PC chair, behind a tripod. As for holding my breath, that wasn’t necessary on this occasion as the mouse wasn’t bothered by a little movement at the window. I also knew it would be back :-)

Didn’t pick this up last time we exchanged comments but I see you are Canadian. I guess our very cold winters may be much, much warmer than yours there… shorter too. By your blog posts on your blog Scotland for the Senses. I can see that you are enjoying your stay here. Enjoy :-D

shirl said...

Hello John, thanks. This particular mouse was quite photogenic and easy to catch staying still. I was fun to watch though. I kept wondering how much bolder it would become.

Well, this new night camera position has been very interesting. At the moment I have it a bit too close to the fungi so it is pretty white with the IR.

However, it has already revealed that slugs are the main feeders of my fungi in the few nights I’ve had a camera here. Once again, I am astounded by the number of insects that visit a small area at night. Creepy crawlies of all legs, shapes, and sizes. You could say… I’m having a spooky time of it ;-)

Lol… paper and plastic spiders crawl all around my house at the moment. Very quickly my fresh dusting was replaced by an elaborate network of newly manufactured cobwebs… really spooky. With low lighting you can hardly see them but… put your hand out and touch something….

shirl said...

Hi again Denise, thank-you… me too although I am very drawn to the beady eyes. I’m surprised how delicate looking its nose is too. Without taking photos I would never had noticed this.

Yes, I’m sure it feels like a desert island for this little mouse. I spotted it collecting bits of withered fern too. I saw tugging from the area it ran into. Guess it was making a winter home there. Lol… thinking of Robinson Crusoe now ;-)

shirl said...

Hi Layanee, yes I do hear you. Thankfully not a problem I have spotted here (yet).

I can imagine just slightly what that must be like after having them in my old shed. It gave me the shivers there just to see a nest in a jar. Presents in your cupboards though… yuck, yuck, shiver, shiver, yuck! Yes, outside homes are best.

Thanks for you birthday wishes. 20 years ago this morning I had no idea that by the end of the day I’d be arriving at hospital and in only a few hours would meet her for the very first time! Spooky… she was born just two hours into Halloween :-D

shirl said...

Hello Brenda, yes I have to say the feet caught my eye when I cropped my photos. I didn’t realise they were quite so delicate… and clean!

Delighted you enjoyed the photos and even more delighted that the Captain is considering getting a garden web cam for your garden. I will look forward to seeing what you see there :-)))

(Blush) Really pleased I may have started it too. REALLY, REALLY BIG SMILE!!!

Thank-you, I’ll pass your birthday wishes on. It is great to have her home for the weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Catherine, isn’t it just so sweet and innocent looking :-)

I guess that is main difference between our mice… opportunities to get into houses. In the US you have basements and your houses are way much larger than the average house here in the UK.

I just have to make sure I keep my back door (near my pond) shut which it is usually anyway. No net screens or wood to chew either with it being PVC and double glazed. My garage at the front is another matter though as the up/over door has small gaps around the hinge. It is also kept closed so that must help a little. Never seen mice there (yet).

Thanks, for your birthday wishes. I’m guessing your oldest being 20 seems a long way away. I hope she is still enjoying her new school.

Wishing you and your daughters fun for Halloween. I’m guessing some dressing up will be going on in your household :-D

fer said...

Very cute mouse! he is definitely not shy

shirl said...

Hello and Welcome, Fer :-)

I agree that mouse was almost bold! Delighted you popped by and left a comment leading me to your blog in Japan. I enjoyed my visit to you :-D

I loved your bottles of seed. There is a new visitor centre in garden near me and they have specimens of seeds for visitors to see on display in large bottle/jars. I admired them there. I’m going to keep your version in mind now too. Thanks :-D