Monday, 29 August 2011

Formby Red Squirrels

The colony at Formby, Lancashire, suffered a crash a few years ago due to squirrel pox, but the population's slowly making a recovery. Very hard to photograph, is your squirrel: they never stay still for more than two seconds and there always seems to be a twig in front of their face. This was the best I could do.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Coming soon: the BBC on Whitchurch Water Vole Group.

So pleased to see this baby vole during an interview for Radio 4's Saving Species. The lovely Sarah Pitt had driven all the way to Shropshire from the Natural History Unit in Bristol, and we'd already sat for an hour in the field and seen nothing. Then this wee chap swam up and hung around for a minute or two, turning in the water and diving and kicking up mud. I reckon he's about three weeks old.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Males and females

I've been reading up about the difference in face shape between the males and females, and how the female's supposed to have a slimmer head than the male with his "leonine ruff". But what about when they've been in the water and haven't bothered to shake themselves dry, as with this scruffy-looking vole above?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Postcard from Ravenscar

Grey seal.

Young roe deer.

Redshank (I think).

Great week on the Yorkshire coast. Amazing place for both wildlife and geology!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Joys of the Trail Camera

Baby water vole

The two pics above: adult

Had to wait an hour before these two turned up at the same time. Was frozen! It's good to see the trail cam picking up another couple of voles further upstream, though. The one shown in the video clip above is a baby, and though you can't tell that from the perspective, its large feet are the give-away.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Water Voles back at Yockings Gate

Juvenile vole, from the field off Edgeley Road.

Guinea-pig sized female.

Yockings Gate baby frog.

Yockings gate baby toad.

I haven't had a sighting at Yockings Gate since 2007, so it was a pleasant surprise to wander up there last night and see certainly one water vole, possibly two, on either side of the bridge by the farm. You'd struggle to get a decent photo as the vegetation's now extremely lush, but that's great for the voles. As I arrived, two swans were sailing up the central channel, and I know a baby water vole makes a good snack for a swan. So the more places the voles have to hide, the better. Everything eats voles.
This site's suffered in recent years from over-zealous dredging and from persons unknown dumping tubs of chemical waste into the water. I hope now the area's left to settle and the vole colony to really establish.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Was watching this baby vole when a full-size buzzard landed on a fence just a few yards away. Message to rodents: site your feeding stations away from handy branches, poles and posts!