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.