Monday, 9 November 2009

Bumper Year for Water Voles?

Possibly a slightly misleading headline, as more recorded sightings doesn't necessarily mean more water voles, but it's still encouraging. The linear nature of canals actually can work against water voles, as mink also like defined linear routes; some of the best habitats for water voles I've come across are ponds and ditches away from the bigger water courses.


Richard said...

More information can be found at:

Although water vole sightings have gone up, they seem to have fallen off the top 20 (along with Mink and Kingfishers).

Not sure what any of this proves.

Kate said...

It may just be changes to the reporting system. The mammal recorder was telling me that, going solely off reported sightings, water voles were really common in Shropshire while field voles were rare. Obviously the opposite's true, it's just that people take the trouble to report water voles.

Kate said...

Thanks for the link!

Richard said...

So rather than measuring the number of water vole sightings, perhaps we measure the number of water vole hotspots?
Again, not sure on how to do that.

Kate said...

We should definitely be mapping, year on year, where active colonies are. That's why it's so important to be in contact with the county mammal recorder and wildlife trusts.

It's not just a case of monitoring, either: we should be looking at ways to link colonies, and at improving/extending/protecting habitat.

Re actual vole numbers, there's a calculation you can do which involves counting up latrines along a given stretch and then feeding them into an equation. But it's an inexact science because who's to say you've found all the latrines?