Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Where do Water Voles Burrow when there are No Banks?

Drinker moth caterpillar

Not much bank to play with!

Trackway and droppings in the field off Edgeley Road. This 'vole motorway' extends right under the wire fence pictured above.

Latrine in the field off Edgeley Road.

Latrine in the field off Edgeley Road.

The ditch near Grocontinental - getting very busy with vole activity.

Latrine near Grocontinental. This stretch is stuffed with burrows!

Another latrine near Grocontinental.

Feeding station at White Lion Meadow. No recent sightings except for rats, but they're being dealt with and shouldn't be around much longer.

Tadpole on the cusp
In the field near my house the brook is extremely shallow with not much bank to speak of, and yet it's full of water voles. So where do they make their burrows? Well, some of them are dug into the modest ledge of soil that is available - and there are more holes in the ground this year than I've ever seen before - but others are hollowed out of the surface grass and reeds. You only have to part the vegetation lightly and you'll see covered trackways full of water vole signs running right away from the water, in some cases fifteen feet or so into the field. In the third photograph down, the trackway extends from the stream on the far left of the picture right under the wire fence on the far right. I suppose the voles need to come this far back because during heavy or extended rain, the brook floods easily. In fact the centre of this field's swampy in all weathers.


Ben said...

That tadpole is pretty well advanced for the time of year. Does it not know we had a very cold spring?

Kate said...

It's been luxuriating in a bowl on my dining room table - they grow up quicker that way.

I noticed we had fewer frogs come to mate this year, but we still had the same amount of spawn, so let's hope numbers go back up for next year.