Above: feeding at Railwayman's Cottage. Below: feeding at the back of Wayland's Road
White Lion Meadow vole that's blind in one eye.
What look like water vole burrows at the edge of Wem Moss.
You can follow the Staggsbrook along from the timber yard behind Tesco, through White Lion Meadow car park and down Edward German Drive, then into Wayland Road and to Railwayman's Cottage (the bridge by Homebase), and see water vole signs all the way along. Mostly it's feeding and burrows - I'm not seeing many latrines so far this year - but there is clear activity right through.
Meanwhile the Whitchurch Water Vole Group has surveyed the stretch of brook as it comes out on the other side of town, along Greenfields and into the nature reserve. Again, there were plenty of signs and even a sighting. So it's looking like a decent start to the year.
The burrows at the edge of Wem Moss were a surprise, though. I know there are plenty of colonies around Whixall, but this stream's black, acid and peaty and just doesn't look very inviting. It goes to show, water voles keep you on your toes!
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?