Thursday, 17 July 2008

Comma and feeding

Two picures of feeding, one from White Lion Meadow immediately above (you can just see two little diagonally-cut strips of reed), and one from near the railway bridge (click to enlarge the photo, and the feeding station's in the bottom right hand corner, on a little mud flat by the base of the arch).
Three voles this evening, one at White Lion Meadow and two by the railway bridge, plus I give you this lovely comma butterfly - yet another creature using the short section of brook by the town centre car park.


Jane said...

Your eyes must be totally tuned into vole signs and voles... I went looking for them on some private land on the Stour yesterday... I'm pretty sure they were there, but do you think I could find signs of them... so much grass/reeds/bushes. Loved your comma picture... beautiful butterfly, I've only seen a scraggy one early in the year (an over-winterer).

Kate said...

I'm not good on butterflies, but I just about recognized this one.

Re signs, the easiest ones to spot are the feeding ones, because a strip of green against mud usually stands out. Latrines are trickier because they are mud-coloured, but like a lot of animals, water voles often search out prominent positions to mark their territory. So check out rocks (like the ones in the post about the wood yard) tussocks of reed, the kerb stones of bridges etc.

At some point I'll do a post about a 'voling kit', but ideally you need to wear gardening gloves and carry a stick when you go looking, and then you can get right into the vegetation and part the reeds to look at their base. Trackways, feeding and droppings might thus be revealed which would otherwise be completely hidden.

Go carefully, though, so you don't damage any burrows, and always cover up again any runs, feeding stations or latrines you've laid open.

Wish I could come with you to the Stour!