Reptiles and water voles

by Ian Bushell

Another Wednesday morning work party;  another good day and a good turn-out of Friends.

Task Number One 
We placed ten reptile survey mats in the small copse in the set aside at the top of Kestrel Field. The survey mats provide the warmth and cover that attracts reptiles. In a few weeks we will lift the mats to see what has taken up residence underneath. We have had success here before with two beautiful adult female Grass Snakes and several Slow Worms.

Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) and Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)

While we were there we also cleared out some dead standing Ash trees, some of which we could use as stakes in…

Task Numer Two… 
…which was to stake the Lambrok tributary between the decorated bridge and the pond to safeguard the rare and protected Water Voles that live in this stretch of the stream. We drove the Ash poles and some Willow stakes into the stream bed with gaps wide enough for the voles to get through but not wide enough for the occasional dog to plunge along the full length of the stream. 

I actually remembered to do a before and after shot!

Considering all the foot traffic in this area we are amazed and delighted that there are Water Voles resident here in this part of the reserve. Perhaps we should put up notices to remind people walking here with their dogs that it is against the law to disturb water voles (or let your dog disturb them) either on purpose or by not taking enough care.

While we were doing this Simon nearly trod on a Water Vole! Even the Friends of the Reserve have to take care not to disturb its protected inhabitants.

Water vole (Arvicola amphibius) and beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo)

By the decorated bridge there was a pair of Beautiful Demoiselles. Let’s hope for a good crop of Damselflies and Dragonflies this year.

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