Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Best Time to See Water Voles

Can you see the vole in the picture above? Click to enlarge and you might just be able to make him out at the bottom. Fantastic camouflage!

I was asked this evening by someone: when's the best time to spot voles? The question came just as I was trying to focus my camera against the gathering dark, so if that person's reading this blog, sorry I didn't explain very clearly, and I'll put a more coherent answer here.
In terms of year, spring to early autumn are the best months for vole-watching. May's an especially good month because the vegetation hasn't gone too mad but the voles have been out and breeding for a couple of months, so you have a chance of seeing babies and juveniles. By July/August, a lot of the water is hidden by leaves and rushes. But September can be another decent month, because the vegetation starts to die back and more of the bank is visible. I've never seen a vole between mid-November and the end of January: that's when they spend most of their time underground.
In terms of time of day, there's no straight answer. I'm tending just now to go at dusk, which at the moment is about 6pm, but in the spring and summer the voles can pop up at any time - morning, afternoon, early evening. This chap - who may or may not be Spot - surfaced at 6.15.

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