Quite a large group of us spent the afternoon in Gloucestershire looking for Water voles. As soon as we began our walk along the river bank, we instantly started seeing clear indications of Water vole activity. Little patches of droppings, small and tic tac shaped. Holes close to the water and bolt holes on the bank, which are used as escape routes.
I have never seen a wild Water vole before, so I was very excited and really hopeful that being with people who were expert at finding Water voles, I would have a good chance to see one by the end of the day.
Water voles are around 12cm to 22cm long with a tail of 6cm to 12cm long. They weigh 150 to 300 grams. They only live for around 5 months in the wild. Water voles eat many different types of vegetation and will consume up to 80% of their body weight in one day.
After a hour and half, there were still more signs but no actual Water voles themselves. I had spotted a Kingfisher, two Kestrels, Otter spraint and a Grey Wagtail. But as the wind was dropping and the sun was coming out everyone became more hopeful of getting to see a Water vole.
James was the first to spot a Water Vole eating close to the waters edge, so mum and I crept along side him so I could take some photos.
While we were watching the Water vole a large ginger cat came stalking out from nearby garden and along the bank. The Water vole plopped in to the water and swam, very quickly, up stream. We followed it for a bit until it disappeared in to a hole.
By mid-afternoon, everyone had decided it was time to leave. We were walking back to Iain’s house for tea and a piece of lovely chocolate cake, when we took a quick look over the bridge and by chance spotted another Water vole perched on a rock. It sat watching us for a while before leaping in to the fast moving water and under the bridge, out of sight.
It was a brilliant day with a great group of people.