Monday, 25 August 2008

Voles where I've not seen them before

The bridge over the ditch just before Dobson's (canal) Bridge

Excellent habitat due to good fencing.

Just-about-visible vole.

A nice feeding station, with some droppings towards the bottom edge.

Tell-tale cuts.

If you enlarge the photo above by clicking, you should see several stalks cut off at an angle.

This (above) is what happens if you don't check your rafts regularly enough. I usually go down every 7-14 days - the more often you can look, the better - but with being on holiday I missed a week. The result's a confusion of prints that aren't really readable, though I think I can see some water vole and some brown rat in there.
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Plenty of water vole feeding going on all along the top section; less lower down, towards the marina, but no sign at all of any mink.
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Then, on the way back home I stopped by the stream just before Dobson's Bridge, and saw a vole pretty much straight away. The farmer who owns the field by this brook has helpfully set his fence well back so there's a good margin of unpoached, untouched bank, and it looks to me like a place that's teeming with wildlife.

8 comments:

Linda said...

Hello....I think your blog is very interesting. I am from USA, and have never heard of Voles before.
I would like to add you to my favorites, so I might keep up on your progress.
Good Luck to you!

Kate said...

Thanks, Linda! It's quite a specialist blog - really a lay-scientist's observations of a very specific local area - but voles do have a lot of general appeal. They're also very important in terms of evolutionary archaeology, I was reading somewhere.

I see from your blog you have a close acquaintance with bats!

Kate said...

http://science.jrank.org/pages/7259/Voles.html

Some info on American voles here, if you want to go looking for them yourself.

Dave said...

Is that the river Roden? Last year I peaked over the bridge on the left and saw a small vole-size mammal scuttling towards me (and then immediately in the other direction!). But I couldn't give it a positive ID vole/rat.

Kate said...

I don't know - don't think so. I've looked on a map and it's such a small stream it's not even shown. In fact, thinking about it, I know another section where it peters out altogether. It's by Dobson's Bridge, I'm told, not too far from the marina, and it runs parallel in this stretch with the Prees Branch canal.

Dave said...

I was going by the "Roden View" B&B just a few yards from the bridge. I think they offer fishing on site so perhaps they have a secret river in the back garden as I don't think that trickle would offer much for the angler. And I've driven paralell to the stream and it does just seem to vanish.

Kate said...

Don't think you'd get much more than a minnow out of this brook!

I like the idea of a secret river...

Linda said...

Thank you for the link....wow, you do learn something new everyday.

Oh, and about the Bats....Ugh!
They do have a purpose, I just don't want them in my house! :)