Dormouse nut hunt, Betws-y-coed

When you receive an invitation to an event which includes the potential to see a dormouse AND have free tea and cake, you say yes!

First dormouse of 2012

The good people of the Snowdonia Society teamed up with the cafe at Ty Hyll (the Ugly House) and MISE to invite keen dormousers to a nut hunt and box check with refreshments 🙂

We had to earn our keep so were sent to search for dormouse-gnawed nuts in the woodland behind Ty Hyll and at another local woodland.  The basic method for dormouse nut hunting is very easy – all you have to do is mooch round the woodland looking for fallen nuts and look to see what has been eating them.  In practice this simple process is not as straightforward as it seems – first you must find your nuts, and since most of them seem to be buried under several inches of leaf litter, you will need a poking stick and lots of patience.  Secondly, once you have found your nuts, you will need to decide what has been munching on them.  Here’s a handy guide from PTES:

chewed-nuts

All the nuts I found seemed to have been eaten by squirrels, but we collected a fair few potential dormouse nuts on the day and these will be inspected by the experts at MISE in due course.

Nut hunt done, we moved onto checking the dormouse boxes installed by the Snowdonia Society.  We found slugs, woodlice, bird nests, wood mice and some bat droppings but no dormice…..we collected the bat droppings for DNA analysis though, so there will be at least one new record of a protected species from the site as a result of our survey 🙂

Then we were rewarded with tea and cake in the cafe and very nice cake it was too, all the better for being well-earned.  Definitely recommend the cafe and if you have been before and been put off by the tiny car park, they have put a new one in which is positively spacious !

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