The garden hedgehogs are still coming to feed, but I've just this evening taken charge of this juvenile from the West Midlands Hedgehogs Rescue Centre so I can feed him up and make sure he overwinters safely. Underweight hogs won't make it through hibernation, so it's important that if you see a little one at this time of year, you try to contain it and call St Tiggywinkles for advice on your nearest wildlife hospital. http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/
A really positive chat this morning with three members of the Environment Agency about how the brook is going to be managed in the next few months, to help both flood management and wildlife. It's crucial that properties are protected, but if the stretches where there is only one vole-friendly bank can be less harshly strimmed, perhaps with a narrow fringe left, then that will be helpful. The biodiversity officer also mentioned that he'd spotted Himalayan Balsam in some patches, so we need to root that out before it gets a hold.
Blog-wise I doubt there'll be any more water vole sightings till next February/March now, but I'll post about the hedgehogs and anything else that pops up over the next four months. In the meantime, feed and water your hogs and garden birds, check your bonfires before lighting them, log anything unusual with your favourite wildlife database, and above all, look after yourself. I have a feeling it's going to be a hard winter.
This blog charts the fortunes of water voles in and around the Whitchurch area, North Shropshire. Water voles are one of the UK's most threatened mammals, extinct in many counties, and so it's vital they receive as much monitoring and protection as there is going. Here in Whitchurch we're lucky enough to have them right in the middle of town - how cool is that?