Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Few Tentative Signs

I brought Y-Boy in for weighing and re-marking, and he's almost a kilogram!

 Water vole feeding at the back of Saddler's Walk (Mossfields)

 Above, invisible skylarks, and below, lapwings out at Broughall

 Water vole prints in the mud at Broughall

A burrow and a buzzard at the Railwayman's cottage near Homebase.

No water vole colony in Whitchurch seems to have woken up much yet, though there are a few feeding signs at Mossfields, prints at Broughall, and a couple of burrows near Homebase. This gives me a bit more hope that things are generally late, rather than one colony having suffered some sort of collapse. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed. It's been cold here and the frogs haven't even begin to think about mating.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

From a Fellow Vole Enthusiast

I was sent these delightful water vole photos by another wildlife fan and follower of this blog, and have her permission to post them here. The way she's captured the dense fuzziness of the fur is wonderful. It's making me very impatient to see my local voles!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

I Obviously Need a Harvest-Mouse Ladder

The mouse was there again today, so I'm going to put a length of wood for it to climb out on its own. I'd be so upset if one starved by accident!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Harvest Mice - Live Ones!

Went to fill up my bird feeder, and this tiny mouse was scooting about among the fat balls. I didn't want to stress it, but I did want to get a proper record to send to the Wildlife Trust so I managed to take a few pics before I let it go.

I wonder how many harvest mice I have in the garden, and where they're nesting?

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Still No Voles, but...

I'll be honest, I'm starting to get a bit worried. This time last year I'd had my first water vole sighting, and the banks were full of burrows and prints and the first latrines were appearing. So far this year all I've seen are a couple of possible burrows and maybe a print.

Then again, this time last year I'd had hedgehogs in the garden already for a month, whereas it's only two nights ago they returned to the garden. So I'm hoping it's just down to the cold weather. The hog above is one I marked last year when he was only a juvenile, and it's Y-Boy. He seems a good size and in decent condition post-hibernation.

The sad rodent picture at the bottom is a mystery mammal I found in the bin where I store my bird food. There's at least one other still alive and at large, and they're a golden-orange colour with quite pointed noses, about half the size of a wood mouse. Debate among wildlife friends boils down to whether it's a juvenile bank vole or a harvest mouse. I've kept the body and I'm going to see if I can extract the skull cleanly for proper ID. If it did turn out to be harvest house, that would be astonishing.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

While We Wait for Water Voles

Kestrel, at Broxton

 A very green Brimstone

 Above, a wood mouse. Below, field (short-tailed) voles.

Hibernating snails

 Above, a common toad; below, just the nose of a common shrew.