We're coming to the end of the season for vole-spotting. As I wrote in BBC Wildlife Magazine, water voles don't hibernate in the true sense of the word but they do spent most of winter below ground, sleeping a lot and eating roots and stored food. As hormone levels drop, individuals become less territorial and come together in groups for warmth. There's also a possibility, mooted by Professor Xavier Lambin, that they make their own 'radiators' out of rotting vegetation which they pack into the burrows: we know that's something beavers do, and badgers.
So, like the voles, this blog goes pretty quiet over winter. But we keep the faith, we keep looking out for little signs and hoping that around February/March time, activity will start again on the banks of Staggs Brook.
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?