Monday, 25 May 2009

Toads etc

Hastily departing toad, in a field near Marbury.

Otter spraint, Whitchurch Country Park

Common Blues, Whitchurch Country Park

Water vole latrine on rubbish: ditch near Grocontinental


Feeding and latrine, ditch near Grocontinental

Snails plus conventional water vole feeding stations, Black Park Road.
Feeding station, White Lion Meadow
The first decent day in ages, so I spent most of it out and about checking up on established sites. In summary, the back of Black Park Road seems to be heaving with water voles, judging by the amount of feeding going on there (including stacks of nibbled snail shells). This despite the fact there's hardly any clear water channel left because the reeds are so dense.
I couldn't get down to the banks at the Country Park as it was too nettly and I didn't have the right clothing, but I found fairly recent otter spraint under the concrete bridge. Again this is good news for voles because otter presence discourages mink.
In the ditch near Grocontinental there's plenty of feeding and a few latrines, though the heavy rabbit presence makes it difficult sometimes to see the water vole tracks. One latrine was on top of some discarded polysytrene caught up in the grate by the culvert. It's always worth casting an eye over floating rubbish for vole signs.
No sightings at White Lion Meadow for over a week now. I would have thought these voles had moved, except that a brief peep between the reeds by the pipe revealed two feeding stations and droppings, so they're definitely about. I must just have been unlucky.


Richard said...

Good spotting on the otter spraint, is the otter a new arrival? Or have they been in the locality for a while?

Kate said...

If you click on the 'otter' label ( you'll see other spraints I've found here - only about one a year, though.

The survey group in 2006 found spraint under this same bridge, so I'm guessing the otter's a regular but infrequent visitor to the country park. I'm surprised one comes here at all, because it's only a small stream - not a great depth of water to swim in, to say the least!