Saturday, 28 April 2012

Brief Glimpse of Vole

Not a lot of opportunities to get out at the moment because of all the rain. Caught this vole with a Bushnell set up on the bank.

Monday, 23 April 2012

First 2012 Sighting at White Lion Meadow (Tesco)

A White Lion meadow vole. Focus is off because light levels were low, but I'm still thrilled with the sighting.

Two latrines off Edgeley Road

Excitingly, some otter spraint in the same Edgeley Road field!

It's always a joy to report the voles are back in the Staggs Brook as it runs past the main town car park. Somehow they seem like part of Whitchurch, the equivalent of the ravens in the Tower of London.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sighting on a Survey Day

In the field off Edgeley Road.

The Staggs Brook as it passes through White Lion Meadow

Latrine underneath the bridge by the car park.

I've never seen an actual water vole pop up during a survey day - normally we volunteers make too much noise poking about the banks after field signs - but during a survey on the 14th at Whitchurch Country Park, a large adult vole swam out right in front of us and paddled in a leisurely manner down the middle of the stream. There was another just by our feet under the shelf of the bank, too, though it wouldn't come out. We logged stacks of latrines, burrows and feeding, which is encouraging when you think that two years ago was had mink on the reserve and all vole signs disappeared.

Another happy bit of news is the spotting of this latrine on a stone under the bridge at White Lion Meadow (the car park near Tesco). It's reassuring to know this colony's up and running again, despite the constant battle with rats.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Where to Look for Otter Evidence

 In this case the otter's run along the wall to deposit spraint.

 Close-up of spraint

 The spraint in this picture's the dark blob at the bottom on the left hand side of the kerb.

This water vole came up from a burrow right by my feet.

I've never seen an otter in the wild, but I do know how to check where they hang out. Under bridges is a favourite spot, and these two bridges at Grindley Brook are good examples. The second one's right by the busy lock and canal shop, but I presume the otters must come at night when it's quiet and mark the walls and kerbs with their spraint.

Must share this excellent Youtube footage of some fighting female water voles my friend posted yesterday. It's the best example I've seen.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


The ditch where I mostly photograph water voles is quite narrow, so a downpour often wipes all traces of voles away, bar their burrows. Bits of feeding and footprints are swept off, and latrines submerged. I was quite worried when I went down this evening as there were no field signs after last night's rain. However I soon saw two voles and I'm sure when I go down to the field next time the latrines will have been restored.