Thursday, 30 July 2009

Making Off

Feeding station at Black Park Road


Juvenile mallard at White Lion Meadow - some of the chicks from obviously survived!
There's plenty of activity still at Black Park Road, and down at White Lion Meadow the water channel has been swept a little clearer; maybe we'll have more sightings there soon.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Even where there isn't much water

Two feeding stations

This overgrown ditch, near Saddler's Walk, has very little water in it, but a quick peek showed plenty of water vole activity. The habitat's like that near Black Park Road , another apparently choked-up area of brook much favoured by w-vs.

Saturday, 25 July 2009



Red Admiral

Dragonfly (Southern Hawker?) at Colemere

Burrow at Edward German Drive

Feeding at White Lion Meadow

Droppings at White Lion Meadow. Despite the light green colour, these were definitely water vole because of the size.
Survey today at Colemere, near Ellesemere. Our group didn't find any water vole evidence, but we did see a toad, a field vole and a lot of dragonflies, butterflies and damselflies. Not sure yet how the other groups got on.
On the way home I checked White Lion Meadow car park and found feeding and droppings, despite the downpours and fluctuating water levels of late. A stroll up Edward German Drive revealed several burrows (for scale, think of a Pringles tube) and some feeding.
Update regarding the other survey groups' results, from Malcolm Monie's report: Some signs were found in and near the Roden itself in the Wolverley area, but at a low density. Upstream, the brook flowing out of Colemere was examined and despite good habitat, no water vole signs were to be found. A survey 3km farther downstream revealed just one site where a couple of burrows and possible water vole feeding signs were found, as distinct from field voles which were present on the same stretch.
We think mink presence plus only intermittently suitable habitat are the key issues.

Friday, 24 July 2009


It's been a while since I've shown any water vole footprints, so here's a photo of some, plus a feeding station from the ditch near Grocontinental.
While I was watching a vole on the bank opposite, I heard a rustling noise by my feet, looked down, and found a juvenile rat with its head in my bag! I said, 'Excuse me,' in my sternest voice, and it scuttled off. It's amazing how many things you see if you sit quietly for half an hour.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Sighting at White Lion Meadow

It's a while since we've had one, but the vole was balanced obligingly on top of vegetation in the middle of the brook. There's still very little water and bank visible under all the leaves, so I was lucky.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

And your evening vole


I've got a friend checking the rafts at Prees Branch Canal now, so I don't have to go so often. Nevertheless it's a pleasure to pop down there and see how the colony's doing.
Today I found more otter spraint under the bridge where I found some last time; I know it looks a bit minky, but the sniff test confirmed it was definitely otter. Good news for the water voles as the presence of an otter ought to keep mink at bay.
And there was water vole feeding on both sides of the bridge, the whole length of the canal from Waterloo to the marina. Finally, on the raft near the marina, there was a handy pile of water vole droppings. If only all voles could be as cooperative.
Finally, some wonderful photos from another wildlife blog:

Thursday, 9 July 2009

White Lion Meadow update

Troublesome fleas?

The banks at Whie Lion Meadow (photo above and below)

I'm aware I haven't posted a photo of a White Lion Meadow water vole since May. This isn't because they're not there - a brief look tonight revealed well-used burrows and slip-ways, plus feeding on both sides of the bridge (see photo directly above). It's because, I think, the vegetation's now so dense that hardly anything under it's visible, so we just aren't getting the sightings. This is great for the voles, of course, so I'm not complaining.
Meanwhile I've been watching another colony, and managed to tempt this large adult out with a bit of apple. I definitely wouldn't encourage regular feeding of wild voles because it can make them vulnerable to predators if you put food out in the same place and at the same time, plus leftovers can encourage rats. But as a one-off, it's fine. This chap isn't complaining, anyhow.

Friday, 3 July 2009


water vole latrine in a field at Colemere

water vole feeding station, near Colemere
Managed to spot a newly-emerged, just-about-to-take-flight dragonfly in our pond; the chaps on the Wild About Britain forum have identified it as a Southern Hawker, even though it hasn't got its full colours yet which I thought might make the job tricky. I also collected up all the exuviae I could fine to send to Clive Dean, Community & Conservation Officer, Countryside Service, Shropshire County Council, and reported my sightings to the County Dragonfly Recorder, Sara Bellis.
Yesterday, while surveying an area near Colemere, we saw not only Banded Demoiselles but Beautiful ones as well, male and female As Clive says, you should report everything! We found a few signs of water voles near Colemere, so they are present but probably need some help with habitat improvement.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Last night's dragonfly action

At midnight last night I went into the garden to cool down and found this dragonfly in the process of emerging. The photos aren't brilliant because of flash, but at least I got the main stages. I'd love to have stuck around and seen what colour it became, and also to check it managed to fly away unscathed. But this morning the exuvia's empty, and there's no sign, so who knows? We're aware of about ten dragonflies hatching this year, but I bet we've missed some. Not bad for a small garden pond.

Burnet Moth

Lots of otter spraint under the bridge in the country park, plus the remains of a small bird - do otters take birds? There were also water vole droppings, and this rather nice moth. Six-spot burnet, I think; I haven't seen one since I was a child.