It's been a couple of weeks since I've had a sighting, but I knew the voles were about because of their paw prints in the mud. Early in the year this is sometimes the only field sign, and it's not always reliable because rat prints can look very similar. Water vole paw prints tend to be more splayed, though - what we call "starry". And here's a vole to prove ownership.
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?