Saturday, 30 June 2018

Overwhelmed by Voles

 Whose big foot is this?

 Fuzzy and dark fur: another juvenile.

 This is how close they come: there are three voles in this picture.

 Even though this is only a young vole, you can clearly see the scent glands on its flanks.

 Pink tongue!

I'm seeing at least five an hour, though it could be more.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

When the Population Starts to Peak

 This central blur is two voles having a furious fight!

 Dark and fluffy baby vole.

 The dark fur of a juvenile.

When the population starts to peak and numbers are robust, individual voles do become quite bold. With each other, adults are intolerant and a lot of chasing and fighting goes on. Even young voles are sent packing. However, within a week or so, the new generation will disperse to find their own territories, and this boldness disappears and sightings drop off. In the past I've panicked and thought a predator had been at work, but now I see it's a perfectly natural rhythm of the colony that after the start of July, I see fewer voles that I did the month before.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Difference Between Young and Old

The top three shots show a juvenile water vole: pretty much adult size but with glossy, chestnut fur. The lower three photos are of an adult, no bigger but with greyer, rougher fur.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Family Groups

Above: adult and baby vole.

Below, a trio of juvenile voles.

 This adult tells this juv to scarper!

  Like many water voles I've observed, this one has a white spot on its forehead.

So many voles about tonight it was hard to keep count. There were definitely two adults, three juveniles and a baby, and quite a lot of bickering and flopping into the water going on. The juveniles, who are more chestnut-coloured here, seemed to tolerate each other well, but the adult chased the baby off and also got rid of a juvenile vole it encountered.