On a sunny day at the beginning of May, two excited groups of children accompanied by parents were given the rare permission by the Teffont Fishing Club to walk along the river bank to look for signs of the protected Water Vole (Ratty in Wind in the Willows).
We are lucky too have a good population here as the species has declined by 90% countrywide.
My group started at Stubbles and walked downstream and under the railway bridge where they found Otter footprints in the mud. There were many burrows along the bank we were on, some with ‘lawns’ of nibbled grass round them. We could see many large burrows on the opposite banks.
After much searching we found some footprints down by the water and a few pieces of reeds eaten in a typical way at a 45 degree angle at each end. We also found a few distinctive cigar shaped droppings.
We did not see any voles but they are most definitely there and they are shy and we were not very quiet!
Inés took her group along the river from Catherine’s Ford and counted approximately a burrow per every meter along a 170 metre stretch.
The children had a wonderful time and Inés sent the records off to the Mammal Society. (Debbie Carter)
Izzy Fry has also written a lovely account with some great photos, on her blog here. It looks like having been a lot of fun and fascinating as well.
I wish I'd been able to be there!
Page header design by Izzy Fry.
You can view and download the full programme of this year's activities here.
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