Sunday, 30 August 2015

Grocontinental


Shy vole




 Above: two feeding stations and a piece of vole-cut stalk.


 Latrine sites

Looks like a burrow but it's actually just a trackway through the grass into the water.

It was great to be invited onto Grocontinental's site for a water vole survey, given that normal public access has been closed and the footpath fenced off. I'm pleased to say we found vole signs, even after all the building and landscaping work that's been going on, and the company say they want to improve water vole habitat and make a feature of the ditch for their employees to enjoy. That's a terrific aim, and encouraging to hear.

We've also been assured we can go back and survey the site at regular intervals in the future.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Postcard from the North Yorkshire Coast


 Grey seals

 A toad (and the ferrule of my husband's walking stick).


 Painted Lady

 Brimstone

 An odd threesome of Southern Hawkers

 Kestrel?


If anyone can ID the dragonfly/darter/chaser in the fourth picture down, feel free!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


 Elephant hawk moth



 Gatekeeper

 Common shrew

 Baby grass snake (Brown Moss)

Swallows

I am really struggling to get more than swift glimpses of water voles at the moment. They seem very shy, so whether this means numbers are down on their usual August peak, or whether there's a predator about, I don't know. So the best I can give you this week is a misty video clip, caught by using a trail cam.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Why is a Vole like a Squid?

 The cloud of sediment that sometimes tells you you've just missed a water vole.

 Comma

 Common Blue

 Small Copper

 Red Admiral

 Skipper

 Juvenile common newts, found under an abandoned suitcase on a brownfield site (Mile Bank)

 Large White


 Holly Blue

 Chocolate Tip

 Privet Hawk moth

 Ragged Robin

 Grass snake



OK, water voles don't produce their own ink cloud, but they do rely on a cloud of sediment they kick up to escape from predators.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Ragwort and Water Voles

 Commas

 Southern Hawker

 What looks like a vole-cut to me, and the plant was right next to a burrow and a feeding station.





It's clear, especially when you're doing The Big Butterfly Count, how much insects love ragwort. But I thought mammals avoided eating the fresh plant because it tasted nasty. However, this does look like water vole-gnawing to me (third photo down) as it was high up the stem, a slanted cut, and right next to a burrow and other feeding. I've never found ragwort in feed stations, so my guess is a water vole just gave this a try, thought it was horrible and gave up.