Thursday, 18 June 2009

My friend Shirl

Here's a post in appreciation of my friend Shirl, who works as a volunteer at Cromford, monitoring the water vole colonies there. As you can see from the top picture, she takes some amazing wildlife photographs, and has kindly let me use one or two on my blog. Recently, when I confided to her that I was worried about the lack of sightings at White Lion Meadow car park, she told me, 'Look for latrines: if there are latrines, then the voles are all right.' And tonight I hopped down under the bridge and found fresh water vole droppings straight away.
I also include a snap of the maintenance work done by North Shropshire District Council. This is sympathetic strimming: a good wide margin left for cover/feeding, and the opposite bank not touched at all. It is well worth taking time to contact your local council if you know there are water voles in an area they maintain. I've found the people at the NSDC maintenance and pest control departments hugely helpful and accommodating.


Richard said...

Has Shirl offered an explanation of why your water vole sightings are down?
I've seen less (hardly any) in the past few weeks, whilst the WWT says it's been a good year for them.

Kate said...

I think some of it's undoubtedly down to luck - some of my sightings in the past have been a one-second glimpse of a vole coming from nowhere, crossing six inches of channel and disappearing straight into the bank, and had I been looking the other way, I'd have missed it. And the vegetation's denser earlier in the season this year: we're talking needles and haystacks.

The droppings show water voles definitely are around the car park area, though, and we are getting some sightings. I reckon I'd have come away with a photograph last Friday if some guy hadn't started his lawnmover up right next to the bank.

That's nice news from the WWT, anyway.