Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Remember the infestation

of mice?

We put down three 'humane' traps with best quality chocolate in them almost two weeks ago. There was evidence of mouse/mice 'coming and going' across the cooker, draining board, window ledge, undersink cupboard and Ron's feeding bowl tray. The bait in the traps was disappearing but no mouse/mice in any of the traps. On some mornings, we came down to the sight of two of the traps with their 'doors' closed. The traps were empty - no mouse, no bait.

Click through pics for larger images.
Harvest mouse
Then, last Friday morning, MWNN lifted the plasitic box he'd been using to cover Ron's food bowl and there was a tiny mouse helping itself to Ron's breakfast.  The mouse fled into the dining room and under linen cupboard, which is next to the china cabinet. MWNN sealed off all exits as best he could with plastic sheeting. When I returned from my hearing check, we used a torch to look at the skirting board beside the china cabinet and there was the same tiny mouse 'frozen' in the beam of the torch.

Attempts at coaxing the mouse forward served only to drive it onto the skirting behind the cabinet and totally inaccessible. There was a trap underneath the linen cupboard so we left both cupboards barricaded and waited for the trap to be sprung. Ron attempted to dig his way through the barricade a couple of times but gave up when he could get only his nose underneath the china cabinet.

Late Saturday night and there were signs that one of the traps baited with dog food had 'caught' a mouse - the one on the kitchen draining board. After breakfast on Sunday mtorning, we put the trap inside a plastic bag and opened the door. Out jumped a tiny harvest mouse.

Release spot, Norton Common
We had a box with airholes prepared and put bag, mouse, and trap into it and drove  to Norton Common (scroll down to page 2 for details of flora and fauna). to release the mouse. I had hoped to take a photo of the mouse in the box before it was released but it was too fast. It jumped out and bounded across the grass and into the undergrowth.

There may be more joining this one later this week, only time will tell. Ron's food and 'treats' are proving a more efficient bait than chocolate. A second mouse was released yesterday 'by mistake' in the garden by MWNN while I was having a health MOT at the Health and Fitness Club.

Wildflower Meadow & Ridge and Furrow
Ron was a litte outraged that we'd transported a mouse in his car, so we compensated him with a walk around the Northern, wildflower section of the common. Norton Common used to be arable and grazing land. You can see evidence of cultivation in the undulations seen on much of the site. Known as ‘ridge and furrow’, they were produced by ploughing strips of open fields in the same direction each year. This was the usual way of farming until the C18th, when the fields were divided and ‘enclosed’ with hedges. After this, the commoners of Norton were granted rights to graze cattle on the Common and an amazing variety of wildlife thrived alongside. However, grazing declined and by the end of the C19th bushes covered many areas and some of the wildlife was lost until improvements were made by Letchworth Garden City. It's a lovely place to walk no matter what season,  though we have to take care to avoid the stream because a certain terrier cannot resist water.
Norton Common Map