Thursday, 8 May 2014

Black Park Road and Yockings Gate

 The one-eyed vole of Edgeley Road, plus some more of her/his underwater droppings.

 The Staggs Brook as it passes Black Park Road on its way to Yockings Gate

 Typical feeding


 This shelf effect at the base of the bank has probably been created by water voles moving back and forth.


 Two feeding stations

Lots of water vole signs at Black Park Road and in the stretch leading down to the Railwayman's cottage (Debbie's voles). I presume they're also upstream, at Yockings Gate too, as the habitat there is excellent, but I can't get down to the banks to see. I have had sightings there in the past. So this spring looks good for the water voles of the Staggs Brook.


WendyB said...

Maybe the one-eyed vole keeps missing the target due to impaired vision..?!

Not such frequent sightings here this last week or so - maybe when the voles are busy with their nests they are not out and about quite so much? When I have seen them they have been very territorial too, zooming out to see off the moorhens and ducks. Prior to that I saw them gathering nest material, dragging long lengths of vegetation down the bank and into their burrows, and also stripping bark off twigs. I also saw one towing a Sainsbury's bag quite some distance - I think to stop the bag blocking a burrow entrance. Fascinating about the football-sized nest that you mentioned earlier.

Kate said...

Oh, I've never seen a vole carrying a bag! Though I have had them try to steal my own. How funny! Yes, they are hugely territorial. I'm reading Tom Moorhouse's 'The Rising' at the moment, which is a story about water voles, and he's got their levels of aggression with each other just right, I'd say.

Kate said...

Here's Wendy's reply which I accidentally deleted so have had to copy and paste (sorry, Wendy!):

"Yes it was a comical incident - the vole popped out of its burrow by the water's edge, to find the floating orange bag strewn across the entrance. It initially got hold of the bag and pulled it ashore, to 'dry land'. It then started biting the bag and rather frenziedly scrunching it up with its paws (almost like hamsters do when they are about to pouch things). I thought "Please don't try to eat it!" - and then wondered if it was being considered for nesting material.. (many of the moorhens here seem quite happy to have crisp packets in their nests). The vole then seemed to get rather cross with the bag - had a bit of a tantrum even - and had a couple of goes at towing it away - the second time successful - and after swimming along with it trailing behind, it abandoned it a few metres from the burrow entrance!"

WendyB said...

Hey, I've just seen my first vole baby of the year!! A little 'un at the near end of the ditch, in "Alpha's" territory - so much smaller (and thinner) than the chunky adults, its tail seemed comparatively shorter too - and it was moving about on the bank and then swimming in a very zippy way, before it shot into a hole and back to safety.

Further down the ditch, I saw an adult collect a couple of large horse chestnut leaves that had fallen into the water, and it then dived into an underwater entrance with them.

Kate said...

Oh, how fantastic! The babies tend to be darker than the adults too, which is how you distinguish them from field voles (which also swim). You're getting so great observations!