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Water Vole Poo & Muddy People!

July 3, 2008

Up to our armpits, wearing leaky waders in the Tadnoll Brook. What a great way to start learning how to find water voles. Did we find any?

The team today was made up of Alison, Georgie, Katie, Kerry-Ann, Laura, Natalie and Ross (who was watering a tree when this picture was taken!).

So why were we in leaky waders? We’d come to see whether we could find any water voles. Maybe sounds a strange thing to do but they are really important. The number of water voles has declined in the last 20 years, so we were at Tadnoll to see if we could find any signs, which would then allow us to go and look for them on other rivers in Dorset.

The water was MUCH deeper than we thought it was going to be. As we listened to Sarah (our wetland specialist) telling us what to look for we were sinking deeper and deeper into the silt. It was getting hard not to fall over. A lot of laughing and hanging on to each other as we dragged ourselves out of the river.

So what did we learn? Look for grass nibbled to a 45 degree angle (very precise eh!), holes in the bank (large enough to get your fist in – and hopefully not get bitten), flattened runs in the grass leading down to the water (they use these again and again) and last but not least latrines (poo) – little piles of lozenge shaped pellets.

We spent some time clearing lots of ivy in the morning to create a path through the woodland linking two bridges that we’d made on a previous visit. Steve was running amock in the woods with his chainsaw (all very safe you understand) so we kept away from him!

In the afternoon we helped transplant lots of river plants. It was stinky and wet work. Fun but you should have seen us at the end of the day. Who said mud isn’t fun?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2008 6:57 pm

    Brilliant blog. Really enjoyed reading about your “exploits”. I’ve put your blog on my “sites I like” list at Urban Extension. Looking forward to reading the next instalment! Jane

  2. Steve permalink
    July 9, 2008 8:59 pm

    Thanks for your support Jane. The team are well into their stride now and have planned their next few days around catching up on all the tasks that they have yet to post. I’m going to have quite a job to get them out of the office tomorrow!

  3. Katherine permalink
    July 11, 2008 3:56 pm

    Ha ha! You got wet! Sounds like a great day though – wish I was still there…

    School’s rubbish, wish I was back.

    Miss you all!!!


  4. Steve permalink
    July 12, 2008 3:05 pm

    Hi Katherine,
    It was a great day – and I’m sure there will plenty more to follow.

    School must be nearly over – come and join us again for some days if you get bored on the hols.

    All of us at the V Team!

  5. Kate permalink
    April 11, 2009 4:28 pm

    Good post!

    Watch out for this one though – “grass nibbled to a 45 degree angle” – as pesky field voles also have the same habit. Generally they chop their feed into much smaller pieces, though, and their poo is smaller and lighter green.

    • April 11, 2009 9:14 pm

      Hi Kate,
      Thanks for the useful tip. Will bear it in mind, especially for those occasions where the hole seems remarkably small for a water vole!
      Glad you liked the post!

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