Mammals

We are very grateful to Phil Richardson, Northamptonshire Mammal Recorder, for providing the information and, unless otherwise indicated, the photos on this page.

 

All mammal species recorded in Northants are listed below, along with details of their occurrence in Fineshade (in white).

RODENTS

 
Grey Squirrel

An introduced species, now common and widespread.

Many variant pelages noticed from albino to black. Those with a reddish hue are often mistaken for red squirrels.

Commonly seen in Fineshade

 

Hazel Dormouse

Apparently uncommon or rare: restricted in range by habitat preferences. On the edge of its European range.  Has fluctuating populations.

By using special nest boxes to aid in their recording, this

species has been recorded in Fineshade, not just in

woodland areas, but also in low conifer plantations and

scrub.  Full details of Fineshade's Dormice are here.

 

 

Bank Vole

Common and widespread with large population fluctuations.

 
Field Vole

Common and widespread with large population fluctuations.

 
Water Vole

Once widespread along waterways and around water bodies, now rare.

No records as yet, but may be recorded soon along small waterways in the area.

 

Harvest Mouse

Scarce or uncommon. Appears to be widespread.

Likely to be under-recorded. The easiest way to record them is by finding the tennis-ball sized woven nests on grass stems.
No records as yet.

 

Wood Mouse

Common and widespread.

 

Yellow-necked mouse

Rare.

No records yet, but possibly occurs. Careful check any wood mice located.

 

House Mouse

Widespread in Northants, but lower population than wood mouse.

No records as yet in Fineshade

 

Common Rat

Common and widespread in all habitats.

Dormouse seen in September 2014

Bank Vole, December 2016. Photo Terry Tew

Wood Mouse found in Dormouse box, May 2016

LAGOMORPHS

 

Rabbit

Common and widespread.

Cases of myxomotosis still observed, but infrequently in recent times. Local numbers controlled to some extent by trapping, shooting and ferreting.

Very common around the Top Lodge area and houses

 

Brown Hare

Widespread, but restricted to suitable habitats. Nowhere common.

They are still hunted by hounds in Northants, and shot as game in many areas.

They are seen quite frequently in the woodland.

Brown Hare                       Bob Bullock

INSECTIVORES

 

Hedgehog

Widespread.

Numbers crashed for unknown reasons in the 1990/2000s. There are the signs of a slow recovery in the 2010s (a few more road casualties indicating this).
Residents have seen few Hedgehogs in recent years.

 

Mole

Widespread and common.
Mole deterrents are used by Fineshade residents whose gardens can otherwise suffer

 

Common shrew

Widespread and common

 

Pygmy shrew

Widespread and common

 

Water shrew

Uncommon. Widespread, but may be restricted to certain habitat areas.

Recorded incidentally by Forest Holidays' surveyors during their 2014 surveys for amphibians and reptiles

Mole

 

CHIROPTERA

 

Whiskered/Brandt’s bat

Impossible to distinguish between these two species from sound analysis.

Heard on bat detectors when flying in the woodland.

 

 

Natterer’s Bat

Uncommon, but widespread.

No records yet, but a species that is likely to occur in the woodlands.

 

 

Noctule

Uncommon. Widespread, but likely restricted by suitable roosting places.

Has been heard foraging over the woods.

 

 

Common and Soprano Pipistrelle

Common and widespread.

Roosts of both present in buildings and bat boxes in Fineshade. Commonly forage around the rides.

 

 

Barbastelle

Rare to uncommon. Restricted to suitable habitats.

Lord Lilford recorded two which he shot in Titchmarsh Church in 1896. Another obtained by him at Elton, just outside the county, resides in the Natural History Museum in London. Since then no more records were received until detected on ultrasonic recordings at Old Sulehay Wood to the east of Fineshade in 2003. Since then records have been collected in a number of areas, possibly due to more modern equipment available.

This rare species has been detected flying in the woodland and roosting very close by.

 

 

Brown Long-eared Bat

Common and widely distributed

Roosts in buildings in Fineshade.

Barbastelle

CARNIVORES

 

Fox

Common and widespread.

Still controlled at a local level to some extent by shooting, snaring and hunting with hounds.

Regularly recorded by sight, smell or droppings around the woodland.

 

Badger

Common and widespread.

During the 1990s there has been an increase in numbers and they now occupy areas that are not ideal as pressure for space increases. Commonly found dead on the roads.

Signs are found throughout the woodland and some setts present, too.
See the Week's Wildlife for April 2016.

Also Wildlife Diary December 2017

 
Otter

Rare. Widespread, but restricted to waterways and water bodies.

Has been seen in recent times along the feeder stream into the R Welland where an artificial holt was built by the Forestry Commission Wildlife Ranger in the 1990s.  Fresh spraint recorded there in 2018.

 

Stoat

Fairly common and widespread.

Recorded hunting rabbits in late 2015 in gardens and at Top Lodge.

 

Weasel

Less regularly seen than stoat.

American mink

Introduced species that spread quickly along waterways in the 1970s to become widespread and quite common. Now uncommon.

Numbers seem to be declining in the 2000s as otters make a come-back.

No records, but likely to be present especially near the water courses.

Noctule

Common Pipistrelle

Brown Long-eared Bat

Red Foxes                      Bob Bullock

Rare daytime picture of Badger at Bottom Lodge
Peter Scott

Stoat with its prey                      John Isherwood

Polecat

Uncommon. Widespread.

Occasional single animals found dead on the road since 1985 were initially thought to be ferrets, but a number found dead along the A45/4500 between Northampton and Kislingbury in 1992 hinted at polecats (or a feral ferret population). In 1994 a dead animal on the road at Byfield was positively identified as polecat by an expert from the Vincent Wildlife Trust who were researching their westward spread. DNA analysis of other animals collected since have shown them to be true polecats originating from Wales. Since then many live animals have been seen running along roadsides, in gardens, exiting a badger sett, caught in live-traps set for rabbits. Lactating females and juvenile animals were caught in the early years. By the end of that decade they had been recorded in north and east Northants up to the Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire borders.

One entered a rabbit trap at in a garden at Top Lodge in August 2018. It was quickly released nearby

Polecat in trap                     Barrie Galpin

UNGULATES

 

Reeve’s muntjac

Widespread and commonly seen, but only ever in small numbers.

Regularly seen along rides and their “tunnels” under low vegetation are commonly seen. Their distinctive prints are to be seen on muddy tracks.

Commonly encountered in Fineshade. Their strange barking calls are often heard too.

 

Red Deer

Introduced species in the Midlands. Rare.

Single animals recorded occasionally, probably from herds kept in captivity for the meat trade.

 

Sika

Introduced species in the UK. Rare.

Occasionally seen amongst fallow deer.

Recorded at Wakerley Woods in 1991

 

Fallow Deer

Common and widespread in suitable habitats.

Apart from wild free-ranging animals there are captive herds kept on country estates, and also for the meat trade.

Herds of 60 or more sometimes occur and all white or very dark-coloured animals have been seen in Fineshade. In autumn, bucks can be heard "rutting" - they attract harems around them and compete noisily with other males.

 

Roe Deer

Rare, restricted range, but becoming more widespread and commoner.

An upsurge in records in Northamptonshire from 1985 may have been created by release of animals (probably for shooting as sport) and aided by natural population spread.

They were recorded twice by Forest Holidays' surveyors in 2014.

 

Chinese Water Deer

Introduced species in the UK. Rare.

No records as yet in Fineshade

Reeve's Muntjac            Bob Bullock

Fallow Deer               Bob Bullock

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