county DĂźring the past few years several have been reported :â€” " E Suffolk " (H. Drake, 1952), Rendham (C. H. Kerr Smiley, 1952), Mildenhall (H. Southwell, 1953), Tunstall (Cranbrook, 1953), while Mr. G. W. Backhouse, the Conservator of the Forestry Commission, teils me that in 1953 there were no less than five occupied setts in the State forests in W. Suffolk. Badgers are welcome residents on Forestry Commission land where they can do no harm and much good : now that they are well established and protected in the State forests we can hope to see these mteresting animals increase in number throughout the County. C.
MAMMALS ON HAVERGATE ISLAND AFTER THE FLOOD BY L T . - C O L . H .
has, as a backbone, a shingle strip nearly two miles long T h e rest of the island consists of derelict pastures inside flood-walls, with saltings outside them. T h e sluice Controlling the triangular basin known as Doveys at the southwest end was finally destroyed by the flood, and Doveys is now tidal T h e water level in the greater part of the rest of the Island is controlled by another sluice, fortunately undamaged, and is normally kept in a State suitable for the breeding of Avocets not of mammals. There are no trees, only a few gorse and eider bushes, and -some teaplant bushes round the old ruined cottage T h e banks provide a possible habitat for small mammals, and there is sufficient thick Vegetation on the slopes of the shingle bank in places to provide cover for hares.
T h e island was entirely covered by water in the flood of 31st January 1953. Only the tops of some of the highest bushes and the two living huts protruded above the flood. It probably had therefore, a disastrous effect on the resident mammals. A colony of rabbits in the north-east end of the shingle strip was wiped out. Not one has been seen since the flood. i w o
MAMMALS ON HAVERGATE ISLAND
drowned hares and two drowned stoats were found after it, and the small number of Short-eared Owls seen this year indicates that the stock of small mammals has, at any rate, been seriously reduced. A number of mammals have been seen, or have left tracks, since theflood.Some of these must be due to re-colonisation or casual visits. It is impossible to know whether any survived the flood. It is probable that one stoat did survive. The bird-observation hide at Doveys had been swept some distance along the saltings by theflood.On March Ist, a gang started to replace it and a stoat ran out of it. It may well have used the hide as an ark, and thereafter as a headquarters. Stoats, possibly always the same animal, have since been seen on Ist June and 6th and 7th August. Larger mammals such as hares, rats and others could, of course, easily swim the two-hundred yard wide tidal passages between the island and the mainland on one side and Orford Beach on the other. Orford Beach is higher than the island, and was pro'oably not entirely covered by theflood.Hares have bred on it this year. A hare wasflrstseen on the island on 2nd April, and there have been three other records, in June, July and September. Well-established hare runs have persisted in the thicker Vegetation since at least April. Otters have visited the island on several occasions. Fresh tracks have been noted on 25th May, lOth August and 28th August. At least one rat made an unwelcome visit and was successfully destroyed by poison. There have only been two records of small mammals. A deadfield-mouse,probably Apodemus sylvaticus, was found at the end of July, and a dead juvenilefield-vole,Microtus agrestis, was found on 12th August. It had probably just been killed by a Kestrel, and may have been carried onto the island from the mainland. Two casual visitors have been recorded, though they cannot strictly be described as " on " the island. Common seals have been seen in the river in May, June, July and August, and a bat, probably a Pipistrelle, was seen on 12th August. There are nc colonies of bats on the island.