Friday, 29 February 2008

Water Voles

Rosie wanted to take some pictures of Cromford Village near Matlock. This is a very historic location, being in the forefront of the industriual revolution. This is how we came to be walking along the Cromford Canal, looking for Dabchicks (Little grebe) to photograph. At the Junction, we came across a couple of naturalists with very powerful cameras on tripods, aimed at the canal bank. They had been waiting for 4 hours to get some good pictures of Water Voles.
The water vole has been in decline in the UK for about two decades now. They are starting to show a comeback, with numbers on the increase. These ones were a little jittery and would take to the water at the slightest noise. The bank had been primed with diced apple to encourage the voles out of the water. It is wonderful to be able to take advantage of the hard work of competent naturalist photographers to get some easy shots.
This is the first time I have photographed water voles. They were very common when I was a child, we called them water rats. They could be found on the banks of virtually every river or lake at some point, way back in the 1960's.
Whilst the camera team were having lunch, one of the voles came out onto a rock. This enabled me to get some very good photographs. one of the couple's cameras was left beyond the vole, so there was only one camera able to record this moment. Natural animal photography is often down to an opportunistic moment in a days work.
These little rodents were grazing on grass and moss on the canal bank. It put me in mind of Ratty in "Tales of the River Bank" - he was a water vole.
Arvicola terrestris is the latin name for the water vole. They are strict vegeterians, feeding mainly on grass and other small plants.


Robert said...

Paul, they are fantastic pictures. It's amazing what you can do with that camera of yours. I'd be fiddling around so long to set our camera up that 'Ratty' would have been gone by the time I was ready! How long was he/she about on the rock?

Love Robert :–D

Paul Pursglove said...

Fortunately the rodent was on the rock for about 3 minutes. I have some 20 pictures in all. Some are a bit grim. There were 3 water voles active and I spent about 20 minutes waiting and snapping.
The annoying thing is that I went out to take dabchicks (little grebe) and those pictures were awful due to the high reflection on the surface of the water.

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