Friday, 18 May 2018

Whitwater Fishing Pool

I checked out Whitwater Fishing Pool (with permission from the owner) and there are some good water vole signs there. They're quite subtle, though, and hard to spot. Meanwhile, activity's still present at White Lion Meadow and Edgeley Road.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018


It's always a joy to share the secrets of wildlife with youngsters. I was lucky enough to be asked to speak to the local Brownie pack, a keen bunch and pretty knowledgeable, about water vole habits and signs. How lucky were we that, while I was talking, a vole swam down to meet us and dived and swam underwater just under our feet! It felt very special. Hope it was a memorable moment too for those young ecologists.
(posted with permission)

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Another Lucky Day

 Edgeley Road vole.

 Dingy Skipper (above). Below, Grizzled Skipper.

 Green Hairstreaks.

 Gravid lizard.

 Marsh Orchid.

 Speckled Yellow moth.

Small slow worm.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Bank Holiday Box of Delights

 Common lizard, Whixall Moss. Below, a Willow Warbler being ringed.

 Wonderful adder!

 Emperor Moths

 Garden Tiger Moth, Prees Heath

 Sedge Warbler, Whixall Moss

White Lion Meadow vole.

Monday, 30 April 2018

A Tale of Two Voles

 'Where is he? I want to go out but I don't want to leave my pups behind in the burrow.'

'Here I am. Sorry, love, I've been feasting on pollen for the protein.'

 'Right, I'm home.'

 'My turn to go out now!'

Some blocked-up burrows.

Apologies: I don't normally go in for anthropomorphism, but it seemed to me the narrative here was fairly clear. The first vole sat at the entrance to the burrow for 15 minutes but wouldn't leave to feed, which makes me think this is a female caring for pups. When the other vole arrived I expected a fight, but it slipped into the burrow quietly without fuss, so I'm assuming that was the male partner. Only then what I think was the first vole came out to feed. I'd thought that male voles went on their way once the female was impregnated, leaving her alone to raise the young, so this was interesting to watch. If anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Special Moment

 Kestrel, hunting.

 Classic starry paw print.

 I witnessed a major spat between the brown vole above and the scruffier, greyer one below. Scruffy lost, and went to feed on roots at the far end of the ditch. Water voles are extremely territorial and often sustain injuries from fighting. They 'box' and bite.

I'd gone to check on another colony, and was photographing burrows when a small snout appeared just in front of me. We watched each other for about two minutes, before the vole went back inside.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Feeding and "Lawns"

 A water vole "lawn" - grazed grass outside a tunnel.

Feeding left by a latrine.

Cut glyceria leaves at Edgeley Road.

The characteristic 45 degree cut used by water voles.

Droppings at the wood yard.

A Marsh Tit!

Water vole starry paw prints in Greenfields

 A latrine in Greenfields, the Country Park

Swimming vole, White Lion Meadow.