Time for the fornightly check of the rafts for the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Looking for signs of small mammals in three locations along the River Cam. The vegetation on the bank is very overgrown at this time of year, which meant fighting through nettles to get into the river.
The rafts are places where mammals might use as a latrine, so the first job is to check for signs of droppings and then to identify what might have left it.
Inside the raft is a clay cartridge which can preserve footprints collected in the previous two weeks.
It can be quite hard to identify from these alone, but really you’re looking for evidence built up over a period of time.
Today was unusual because no signs at all were found in any location. Speaking with Pete at the Trust, he thinks that the cartridges may have dried out and are not effective at preserving prints. We’ll see how it looks next time, but he may install new cartridges to get improvements.