Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hedgehogs and Shrews

Here's the only half-decent footage I've managed to capture of a water shrew. Blink and you'll miss it.

The hedgehog clip is a poser, as it turns out I've mis-labelled what's going on. What I thought was the small hog's mother was in fact attempting to mount the little hog, so I can only assume this is a very small or juvenile sow being courted by a large adult boar. How old is she? How old do females have to be to start breeding?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Of Moths and Voles

Poplar Hawk moth, Yellow Swallowtail moth, Elephant Hawk moth

Got the chance to use a moth trap in our garden and was thrilled by the results. Meanwhile, the Edgeley Road voles are still thriving.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Ditch at Broughall

The ditch at Broughall yielded its first sighting of an adult nesting vole. It's a hopeless site for taking photos there because the vegetation's so dense, so the vole pictured here is from Edgeley Road. But I have no doubt there's a big population in the stream that crosses the bridleway.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Mustelid Contingent


Water vole
Adult rat - the relative sizes

It was a surprise to pick up this stoat on the trail cam. This makes the fourth mustelid I've seen in the field (if you count finding otter spraint as a 'sighting'). I've also seen weasels and a polecat here. All these predators will eat water voles, but because they're native and in the balance, vole numbers stay buoyant. The worry is if mink invade, because they are non-native carnivores and can wipe out whole colonies of water voles in a matter of weeks.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

More Pink

Spotted this elephant hawk moth by the main town car park. What a beauty! Meanwhile, half an hour's sitting by the stream showed up three voles, two adults and a baby. The adults could be distinguished from each other because one had a scar above its eye. I like the image of a vole shaking itself dry after swimming.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Pink Butterflies and Yockings Gate

Cinnabar moth resting and in flight

 Terrific habitat

Yockings Gate water vole

Thrilled to spot a water vole at Yockings Gate, the first for years. The vegetation's now grown back after severe dredging and the dumping of some chemical bins that looked very dodgy, and the banks and water seem healthy. I was also pleased to see this cinnabar moth as they're such vibrant, beautiful creatures. I can understand why some people think they've seen a "pink butterfly" as, when the moth's wings are open, it does look that shape.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Strongest Proof Yet that Water Voles Eat Snails

Vole with an injury above its eye.

Found this nibbled snail shell in the middle of a water vole feeding platform. That's no guarantee a water vole left it there, but while I was watching, one came and picked up the shell briefly and dropped it. I've still never actually seen voles of any species eating meat but I've come across so many snail shells in water vole areas, I really think they do. Pregnant female water voles have been recorded as eating fish.