Thursday, 25 October 2018

Closing Up for the Winter

 Small copper.

 Common red darter.

 Two well-camouflaged common newts.

I haven't seen a water vole for a couple of weeks now, so I'm assuming they've taken themselves underground in the main, ready for the colder weather. This is the time sightings usually stop, although I have occasionally seen them in November. I'd hope next year's sightings to be starting around mid-February or March. However, you can still see their little starry pawprints down at White Lion Meadow (the car park by Tesco), so there must be some above-ground activity.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Getting Ready to Go Underground

These are all White Lion Meadow voles seen this month. There are at least three individuals operating on this stretch, all busily eating to pile on the weight for winter. I don't suppose they'll be visible for long now: soon they'll retire below ground to wait out the colder weather.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

White Lion Meadow Still Busy

 Climbing vole.

  Water vole prints, plus a single dropping.

 This water vole dived repeatedly to pull up orange roots.

 This photo shows how brown a water vole's fur can look. 

I'm seeing a couple of voles at a time down at White Lion Meadow. They're very often to be found clambering around in the brambles and willow herb.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Environment Agency, Green Horizons Contractors, and vole-friendly maintenance: a story of good communications.

Water courses can be cleared to minimise flood risk without harming water voles or their cover. The EA not only contacted the Whitchurch Water Vole Group prior to their work to check we thought it was OK for the voles, but sent us regular updates via social media. A friend of mine who lives locally says she saw even one of the men sitting reading a book about water voles during his break. 

So many thanks to them, and to Green Horizons contractors. I went down last night and saw this vole above happily eating, and swimming up and down the newly-strimmed banks, still with plenty of cover to hide in.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Still a Fair Bit of Activity

You can't really see from the photo, but a water vole had climbed pretty high up this bramble bush.

Above: White Lion Meadow voles. Below, Black Park Road. 

Friday, 31 August 2018

Non-spotty Variety

Same place, different (adult) vole.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Genetic Interaction and Why Wildlife Corridors are Crucial

This is exciting, and has implications for local planners and ecologists. This water vole is a mile away from the other spotty voles, which shows the importance of wildlife corridors. Without interaction between colonies, a local water vole population will die out. This cannot be stressed enough, and when developments are proposed, it needs to be taken into account by planners, landowners and ecologists every time.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

It's All Go at Black Park Road

  It's very overgrown on this stretch, but that's great for the voles - more food and cover.

 Comma butterfly

 A single water vole dropping laid on top of a feeding station.
Below, three feeding stations and a vole-cut piece of sedge.


The voles at Black Park Road are pretty shy, but there's clearly a thriving population on that stretch. In the tiny section I looked at by the public footpath there are lots of field signs, and I could hear several chomping away.