Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Feeding Signs

The Staggsbrook as it passes under Greenfields Rise - teeming with water voles.

Feeding stations on the Prees Branch Canal

Prees Branch Canal.

Feeding station at Black Park Road.

Vole-cut reed at Black Park Road.

Feeding at White Lion Meadow - note the V and arrow-shaped ends of the nibbled stalks.
Water vole feeding at White Lion Meadow.

I think this is the remains of a frog eaten by an otter! Under the concrete bridge at Whitchurch Country Park
Seems like a good time to post a few pictures of what to look for when assessing whether water voles have been feeding in a given area. Sometimes, as well as the signs shown above, grass will have been grazed short around burrows. But it's the slanted ends of stalks that are the giveaway every time: geese and ducks will chop up vegetation and leave it floating in the water or scattered on the bank, but not neatly the way water voles do with that 45 degree cut.
Had a brief sighting tonight off the bridge at Greenfields Rise (top pic). This is an area just outside the Country Park, and depressingly, one being talked about for development by the Waterways Trust. It's stuffed with burrows and looks like a really busy, key stretch for water voles. The habitat's perfect. No improvements needed!

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