Friday, 4 January 2013

And into 2013 with signs already

What we have here is pretty much the full set of main field signs for water voles: feeding, prints, active burrows and droppings. The droppings are the most important as they're fairly definitive - burrows and prints can be confused with rats', and sometimes field vole feeding looks like water vole. But in the top photo this is definitely w-v because of the scale.

All these I found in the field off Edgeley Road, a colony I'd been dreading visiting because of the flooding. What was clear was that low-sided stretches of the brook here had been swamped and deserted by voles - there was just nowhere for them to go as the levels rose - but other stretches with higher sides looked to have survived OK. Upsetting to find some contamination by diesel to add to the disruption, but it didn't seem to have spread too far.

This is a really soggy field, like a big sponge that soaks up a lot of water during heavy rain. Lord help us if the council ever decide to build on it, because wherever will this water go?

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