Thursday, 29 August 2019

Very Sad Day

I knew this day would come eventually, but it was with a heavy heart I saw the planning application to build on the field where the water voles live. There's a full ecological report which outlines what's best for the water voles and stresses that they have legal protection, and the plan above does leave a buffer zone around the brook. But will the developers adhere to the regulations? In particular, will they require new householders not to own cats, as the ecological report advises? And what will happen to the pair of barn owls that live in the field? I can't see how they'll survive. I'm relieved to see Shropshire Wildlife Trust involved with post-building management, at least, and I myself will be up to the field regularly to check no one's breaking any laws.But I can't pretend it's not a blow to lose such a wonderful space for nature.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Postcard from Croatia

 Bee Eater

Small Copper

 Clouded Yellow


 Crested Tit

 European Turtle Dove

 Pearl-bordered Fritillary


More Bee Eaters and a common lizard, mid-moult.

 Red Squirrels.

 Wasp Spider. I saw three of these on a short stretch of river bank.

 Short-tailed Blue.

 Banded Grayling.

Common Blues.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Bridge Repair: Good Practice

 Shropshire Council's ecological advisor, Rob Mileto

 Helium balloon I fished out of the brook - please don't release them into the air!

I'm pleased to report that, before undertaking repair work to the bridge at White Lion Meadow car park, Shropshire Council asked the advice of a professional ecologist so he could assess the impact on the water voles. He contacted the Whitchurch Water Vole Group to ask if we had any thoughts, and I was sent to meet him for a chat.

I showed him where the burrows were sited, and he explained the works listed. We came to some useful compromises that will protect the voles and get the bridge sorted as soon as practically possible. It's terrific when people take the time to ask and check. They should do by law, of course - water voles are legally protected - but not everyone does.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Suddenly Shy

There's been a sudden drop in sightings - voles much much shyer suddenly, and apparently fewer of them. This could be die to the weasel, or it could be natural dispersal or a combination of both. It is a pattern I see every year, though between mid August and September. There are still plenty of fresh droppings and feeding around so I'm not too worried.

Thursday, 8 August 2019


White Lion Meadow (Tesco) vole

 Weasel or stoat watching me at Edgeley Road. Below, Edgeley Road water voles.

Of course stoats and weasels both eat water voles, so I had mixed feelings when this one stepped out of the nettles. However, they are native predators so shouldn't do too much damage. I've seen both stoats and weasels on this site before, as well as otters and polecats (check the tags on the right for previous posts)

Monday, 5 August 2019

A Good Mix of Ages

A good selection of sizes and ages in circulation at the moment. The photos immediately above show a very young baby water vole, probably only a few days out of the nest and noticeably darker and skinnier than the adults and juveniles pictured elsewhere.