Tuesday, 28 August 2007

White Lion Meadow car park again.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

White Lion Meadow car park again. In the top photo you can see the chewed-at-an-angle stems, typical of vole feeding. The picture below it shows the proximity of the trolleys to the voles.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

First juvenile vole I've seen this year

And damn tricky to spot: I thought at first it was a mouse. This was at White Lion Meadow stretch of the brook again, just opposite the abandoned Tesco trolley that's still by the willlow tree.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007


I've been away for a week, and while I'm glad to see there's been a sighting at White Lion Meadow in my absence, I'm less happy that the trolley's not been touched and that there are three more with it. Appalling. This is the habitat of the UK's most endangered mammal we're talking about. I'm really hoping someone's going to take some action soon.

On a more positive note, here's a lovely film clip of Derek Gow releasing a hundred voles at Catterick. This is how it should be done: http://search.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/search/results.pl?q=water+voles+catterick&scope=all&edition=d&tab=av&recipe=all

PS: Viv, if you're reading this, thanks! A pleasure.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Another sighting at White Lion Meadow car park

One adult, on the bank directly opposite the abandoned Tesco trolley.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Hear the noise from the car park!

Took these pics this evening at 8pm at the section of the brook nearest to Tesco. In the lower photo, the vole's in the vegetation on the bottom left hand side.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Raft Results

Went to check the rafts on the canal. There was nothing at all on the first one, so we buried it more thoroughly in the reeds (middle pic) and it'll be looked at again in a few days. The one further down had prints on but they're neither water vole nor mink - much too small for the latter. Stoat?
The surface of the clay was re-smoothed with some sort of plastering tool, and the raft put back into position. I get the impression these clay inserts can last for months or even years.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Hooray for the EA

The good news is that the lady from the Environment Agency doesn't think the oil is there in sufficient quantities to be a wildlife threat. The even better news is that she's going to approach Tesco about the trolleys in the brook as an offence is being committed. There are currently four trolleys in the stretch between the store itself and the bridge behind Waylands Road, and three of them have clearly been there for ages. The bottom picture I took in April but reproduce, showing that the voles' habitat was directly affected by this form of pollution.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Potentially disastrous

Spotted a film of what looks like diesel on the water this morning at White Lion Meadow. This could be seriously bad news, as I don't know where the contamination starts but I do know the brook flows into the Country Park and there are voles there too. I've reported it straight away to the Environment Agency and they're trying to get someone out today.
While they're there, maybe they'll take out the new Tesco trolley someone's pushed in under the bridge.

Friday, 3 August 2007

This morning we laid two mink rafts on a stretch of canal as a monitoring measure, and while we were there we did a survey of the banks. Viv and Colin from Shropshire Wildlife Trust used the boat to view the extreme edge of the vegetation, and Albert and Malcolm investigated from the path side. Plenty of latrines and feeding stations, I'm pleased to report, and several burrows, some of them into clumps of reed rather than earth. Last year SWT members planted apple trees at intervals to provide extra food for the voles, and all the saplings were looking healthy.
Meanwhile, John Harding and Rosie Rees filmed the activity for posting on Youtube. Here's another of John's clips of the Whitchurch water voles in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10xb-FbDDtM
Oh, and the trolleys are gone from White Lion Meadow: I assume it's the council I have to thank for this. Well done NSDC.