I am excited to have embarked upon a survey and monitoring project of the hedgerows and small woodlands that surround Rhos Cefn Bryn Wildlife Trust reserve in Carmarthenshire. I am very grateful to the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species who have awarded an internship grant, making this conservation work possible.
The project aims to establish the landscape context for a well studied population of dormice within the reserve. I have assisted at the reserve for the past two years for the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme.
The small Hazel copse is only 0.3ha. A recent study by Dr Lizzie Wilberforce and Robert Jones Parry MIEEM of WTSWW, with LBAP funding, was an assessment of potentially weak areas of connectivity but also good linkages and areas of possible habitat by aerial photography. I will be ground truthing key linkages and surveying/ monitoring woodlands and hedgerows for dormouse activity. Dr Lizzie Wilberforce will supervise and I will project coordinate. I am asking permission of the landowners to gain access and have already surveyed one farm and installed nest tubes.
It has three small wood areas with some promising dormouse habitat and good hedgerow connectivity. I have installed nest boxes in a copse opposite Rhos Cefn Bryn and have seen two juvenile dormice residing in an old nest box! The landowner of the copse has given me full access to his farmland. I will liaise with more landowners to pursue a successful completion.
The ultimate result of the study is to ascertain whether the existing viable population are in fact isolated, or have connectivity through the hedgerow corridors to other populations in small woods. During the four month period I will be collating evidence for a written report to PTES and WTSWW.