Sunday, 15 February 2015

Other Small Mammals

Family of field mice at Black Park Road.

Below, the back end of a field vole showing the shortness of the tail.

These burrows are in the right place for water vole, but they're too small. They're made by field voles, probably.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A Few Pawprints

 Lapwings in the field

Water vole paw prints in the mud at Broughall

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Waiting Game

It's always an anxious time, waiting for the water voles to reappear. Not many signs at present, except a few burrows, though there's lots of field vole activity. Grocontinental have removed some of the hedges next to the ditch in their field which might be a help in encouraging the growth of vegetation along the banks, but I hope they've done the most disruptive work now and the voles are left alone to breed now.

Thursday, 27 November 2014


Water voles don't truly hibernate, but this blog sort of does. While the voles are underground and feeding on roots and snoozing, I don't post much. But Radio 4 Extra are re-running Tom Moorhouse's wonderful fiction book, 'The River Singers', and as part of that feature there's an interview with me and my voles at 2 minutes 30 seconds in.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Still a Few Signs

 Very small smooth newt from our garden

 Probably water vole prints (though could be rat)

 Water vole droppings, and below, a burrow plus trackway

I think this is weasel scat

Not much vole activity now it's autumn, but on the plus side our garden is busy with hedgehogs including this family of five. Mum quite often comes and feeds separately, but in the bottom video she is being harassed by two of her four young (who are old enough to know better).

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

So Much Activity!

What a fantastic surprise to see these two otters on the trail cam. I've never seen an otter in the wild; this is the closest I've ever got. It's amazing that they would use such a tiny ditch. But then the field's full of wildlife, and I have found spraint there twice before. Thrilled!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

End of Season Round-up, Part 2

 Edgeley Road vole

 Droppings in the ditch near Railwayman's Cottage (by Homebase)

 Droppings at Edward German Drive

 Otter spraint and prints at Whitchurch Country Park (Greenfields)

Nice mural by the canal!

I never see much after October, so these may be the last vole photos of 2014. However, the colonies mostly appear to be holding their own. There's some activity at Edward German Drive (though perhaps not as much as in previous years), while the voles at Railwayman's Cottage are thriving. I'm afraid I can't tell what's happening at the country park as the vegetation's so thick I can't get near the banks. There's good otter presence, though, so fingers crossed the voles are also doing OK.

Meanwhile a big cheer is in order for the Environment Agency who have done a detailed study of the Staggs Brook as it goes through town so that they can manage the banks for flood risk without in any way harming the water voles. It's a brilliant effort. I'd say the signs are hopeful for Spring 2015.