Things are getting territorial in the garden...
Saturday, 23 April 2016
Wednesday, 20 April 2016
The half-blind vole at White Lion Meadow
Victorious after a scrap at the timber yard.
Water vole-feeding on the bank at White Lion Meadow
A poor photo, but it does show two fighting voles. They're probably two females trying to stake out territory.
The serious problem for water voles at Edward German Drive. If you're a responsible owner, please, please fit your cat with a flashing-light collar, and keep them in at night. It's safer and kinder for the cat, too.
Saturday, 16 April 2016
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Sunday, 10 April 2016
My friend's black water vole
Burrows at Edgeley Road
Droppings at Edgeley Road
It's true you get melanistic mammals in lots of varieties - grey squirrels are probably the commonest - but it's very unusual to see a black water vole outside Scotland. This particular vole is in Cambridge!
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Burrow with grazing round the entrance
Water vole grazing
I'd stopped to take a photo of some grazing at Edward German Drive when a water vole popped up. There are burrows and lots of feeding too.
The vole at the bottom in the one with the poorly eye at White Lion Meadow.
Monday, 4 April 2016
Sunday, 3 April 2016
It seems I was right about the timber yard being 'vole-scaped'. As I arrived last night, a vole was busy weaving in and out of the rubbish, and I thought to myself that there must be more than one animal there to make such an impression on the banks. Because not only are there burrows, but at the point where the bank meets the water there's a kind of shelf so the voles can run along without being seen from above. Only fairly heavy and established mammal-traffic would produce that.
Later I walked a few hundred yards upstream to the swimming baths and spotted a water vole on the bank. It's hard to photograph them clearly on this stretch as there's a lot of vegetation, but I did manage to get a picture that was sharp enough to show me this animal had a damaged eye. Eye problems are very common in water voles and are often the result of fighting. In fact, two years ago I followed the fortunes of an Edgeley Road vole which had lost its eye entirely, but had survived the winter. Moreover, this vole was around till the summer and went on to bring up a family. So even though you'd think a lack of peripheral vision would be fatal for an animal at the bottom of the food chain, it doesn't necessarily spell disaster.
Anyway, I lost track of the vole at the swimming baths, but then thought I'd found it and zoomed in again. It was only when I checked the photos later I could see this vole's eyes were perfectly normal. So last night's vole total was three!
Friday, 1 April 2016
A White Lion Meadow water vole from this time last year
Burrows appearing at Edgeley Road
Edgeley Road: the first water vole droppings I've seen this year.
I expect this spot will be established as a proper latrine shortly.
Starry prints: top set at Edgeley Road, bottom set from Edward German Drive,
where I think there is also a burrow.
Outside the timber yard behind Tesco. Could this be volescaping at the bottom of the bank?
I've had no actual sightings for a few days, but lots of vole signs are staring to appear around Whitchurch.