Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Families Still Expanding

Grazing by water voles. 

Above and below, latrines at White Lion Meadow car park.

 My first Clouded Yellow!

 I'm finding burrows well away from the brook now. Derek Gow thinks this might be because the population is doing so well this year and the banks of the stream are becoming crowded.

Above, "Tiny Spot" and below, the dark vole who might be its mother and who holds one of the territories around this area.

 This is how small a newly-out-of-the-nest water vole is.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Gowy Meadows Course for Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Here I am leading a course on surveying for water vole presence. The site is Gowy Meadows reserve and the organisers were Cheshire Wildlife Trust. The great news is that we found lots of definitive evidence, even down to actually seeing a water vole!

I'm very happy to give talks on water vole field signs, and to take people out to look for those signs as long as the land is accessible to the public (or, if private, then we have permission from the landowner).


I've gone suddenly from seeing five or six voles in a half hour space, to seeing just two in an hour, and then last night I sat for an hour and a half and only saw a water shrew. In past years that sudden drop in sightings has panicked me and made me think there must be a predator about, but now I realise it's the natural pattern of peak-and-dispersal, where juveniles are packed off to find new territories, or occasionally pack their parents off and take over. There doesn't seem to be a  lot of sentimentality over family bonds in water vole colonies!

 unusually dark adult

 healthy juvenile

 "Grey Scruffy" - I think this is an adult female who's had a tough breeding season.


It's unusual to hear water voles making any noise, but they will make this 'piping' squeak when angry.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Further Violence!

 Very young juvenile.

 Greyish adult.

 Possibly a family group.

 Unusually dark adult. 

 Literally stands on my foot to get a better view of the enemy.

I think the reason I'm seeing so much fighting this year is because I sit at the junction between two territories. 

Many thanks to the people who came to litter-pick round the White Lion Meadow voles today!

Monday, 9 July 2018

White Lion Meadow and Upstream

 Edgeley Road vole

 I saw this feeding, then came across a very dead vole near some garages where the vegetation's too thick to get near the banks. So although it's sad for the vole, even a body is encouraging because it shows presence of a colony there.

Below, a feeding station and a baby vole that came out to feed at White Lion Meadow this evening.