White-faced darter and a female Stonechat,on Whixall Moss
Wood Yard vole
Droppings and a vole at Edgeley Road
Below: two more Edward German Drive voles, from different days.
I'm struggling to see voles in the usual places this year. The field signs are there, but actual sightings are proving tricky. There's been some sort of scum on the water this week right the way along the Staggs Brook, plus the growth of sewage fungus, so I'm hoping that's not impacted on the health of the wildlife. (Sewage fungus isn't caused by sewage, it just gets its name because it looks unpleasant.) Perhaps rain will help. On the plus side, there's more vole activity than I've ever seen on Edward German Drive.
Water vole populations do have a natural 'boom and bust' cycle, peaking and crashing every four years, so maybe this is just a normal fluctuation. I hope so.
Above: baby vole, White Lion Meadow car park, and below, another Timber Yard vole.
The brook as it runs past the Timber Yard.
I was excited to find tat the stretch between Edward German Drive and Griffiths Tool Hire is also full of signs - burrows, trackways, feeding, and then an actual vole sighting. This area's been used as a passageway before but I've never seen is colonised as busily as it is this spring.
This blog charts the fortunes of water voles in and around the Whitchurch area, North Shropshire. Water voles are one of the UK's most threatened mammals, extinct in many counties, and so it's vital they receive as much monitoring and protection as there is going. Here in Whitchurch we're lucky enough to have them right in the middle of town - how cool is that?