Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Environment Agency, Green Horizons Contractors, and vole-friendly maintenance: a story of good communications.









Water courses can be cleared to minimise flood risk without harming water voles or their cover. The EA not only contacted the Whitchurch Water Vole Group prior to their work to check we thought it was OK for the voles, but sent us regular updates via social media. A friend of mine who lives locally says she saw even one of the men sitting reading a book about water voles during his break. 

So many thanks to them, and to Green Horizons contractors. I went down last night and saw this vole above happily eating, and swimming up and down the newly-strimmed banks, still with plenty of cover to hide in.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Still a Fair Bit of Activity



You can't really see from the photo, but a water vole had climbed pretty high up this bramble bush.



Above: White Lion Meadow voles. Below, Black Park Road. 






Friday, 31 August 2018

Non-spotty Variety





Same place, different (adult) vole.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Genetic Interaction and Why Wildlife Corridors are Crucial






This is exciting, and has implications for local planners and ecologists. This water vole is a mile away from the other spotty voles, which shows the importance of wildlife corridors. Without interaction between colonies, a local water vole population will die out. This cannot be stressed enough, and when developments are proposed, it needs to be taken into account by planners, landowners and ecologists every time.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

It's All Go at Black Park Road

  It's very overgrown on this stretch, but that's great for the voles - more food and cover.

 Comma butterfly

 A single water vole dropping laid on top of a feeding station.
Below, three feeding stations and a vole-cut piece of sedge.






  Latrines.


The voles at Black Park Road are pretty shy, but there's clearly a thriving population on that stretch. In the tiny section I looked at by the public footpath there are lots of field signs, and I could hear several chomping away.

Saturday, 25 August 2018




Dropping and some feeding at Moss Field, behind Saddler's Walk estate.



Below, the excellent habitat that is Railwayman's Cottage.


I've left it too late this year to do a good survey of Moss Field or the Railwayman's Cottage, but at the former there were a few signs I managed to see among the incredibly dense vegetation, showing that the voles are still there. Then I popped up to the cottage and was thrilled to meet the new owners who are entirely pro-vole and wanted to know what they could do to improve habitat. It's such a relief to know that colony is in safe hands. Next spring I'll get in sooner, before the coverage gets too thick to move around in.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Worrying Times - Development and Water Voles

 A site entrance has gone in at both ends of the field ready for earth movers etc.








I know all of you who follow this blog will be as concerned as me that there are signs the field where the Edgeley Road voles live might be developed. It's a spectacular habitat, not just for water voles but for otters, both of which are protected species, and barn owls, water shrews, weasels and kestrels, to name but a few of the wild animals who use this site.

However, although the site is now barred to me, I'll do my best to keep a close eye on the voles, and I know the landowner will be fully aware of the law regarding water voles and their habitat, and make sure full mitigation measures are followed.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

A Surprise from Tiny Spot!





A non-spotted juvenile. Or does it in fact have a tiny tuft of white hair on its forehead? I can't decide.

The female I've named 'Grey-scruffy'.

The dark female. Her territory adjoins Grey-scruffy's.




One of the spotted voles on the near bank, and the Dark Vole opposite.




And the surprise is - there's more than one very young spotted water vole on the patch! I counted at least three. So this has to be genetics. It will be interesting to see if any of them make it through the winter and appear next year.