Country Corner

A field mouse captured on CairnCam
A field mouse captured on CairnCam

You may recall I recently introduced you to CairnCam, a wee hollow pile of stones with one of my camera traps in it.

We have already discussed shrews and voles, two of the regularly visiting species.

This week it is the turn of the field mouse, a bonny and fascinating country dweller.

Whereas I have daylight pictures of both the previous two, field mice only ever visit after dark.

This one triggered the trap repeatedly as it would disappear and return a short while later with an entire knapweed seed head.

As it held the seed head in it’s front paws and deftly turned it to gnaw out the seeds, I was struck by how much knapweed heads look like pineapples!

It is also a common sight to see them eating hedge snails within the cairn.

Of course, one or two of these snails might be found in the cairn, but it is evident the field mice are actively foraging outside for them.

Bringing a snail back to the cairn the mouse then begins to gnaw open the shell and consumes the flesh with obvious relish.

Hedge snails are active climbers but so are fieldmice.

I can just imagine this hyperactive wee creature shinning up a tall swaying stalk, grabbing a seed head or snail, and scuttling down to run back to the cairn to enjoy it’s prize in safety.

This it would do many times in the course of a night.

They do the same when raiding your bird feeders by night,often consuming the seeds beneath the nearest garden shed.

I also recall once baiting a camera trap at a badger sett with dried mealworms.

A pair of field mice spent all night gathering them up, triggering hundreds of photographs in the process!