Saturday, 18 August 2012
Much squabbling again tonight. The voles are dispersing, juveniles being driven off to find new territories by their parents, and it's a sobering thought that the adults I'm seeing around now are unlikely to make it through to the spring.
Water vole life expectancy is just five months, due to high predation of young (and, I imagine, nests being lost to floods). But even voles who make it to full size almost always die during their second winter. Late-born juveniles which are too small, less than 140g, will also fail to make it.
That's why these last weeks of summer are so precious, and the first sightings of the following year so joyful.