Friday, 2 December 2011

Water Voles on the Itchen Navigation

Armed with my camera and some lunch I decided to take a stroll along the Itchen Navigation in search of some Water Voles. I had recently attended the Hampshire Mammal Groups (coordinated by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust) open day where they gave a very interesting talk on Water Voles amongst other things.  I remember as a lad seeing these little critters along the Basingstoke Canal and then thinking that was probably the last time I do remember seeing them.
The Wildlife Trust has been carrying out lots of work to rebuild the required habitat that will help the Water Voles flourish and one of the places they have been doing this is the Itchen Navigation.
As I made my way along the tow path I saw a Spotted Woodpecker, a Heron flying over head and the blue flash of Kingfisher flying by. 

Eventually just upstream I could make out the shape of Water Vole sitting on a small branch having a snack. I slowly made my way along the path being careful not to make any noise, found a spot with a good view of the other side of the bank and there I spent the next couple of hours watching the Water Voles go about their daily life.

The spot on the other side of the bank was well protected by bushes and trees. This I soon learnt made a great spot for a watering hole. Whilst I was there Finches, Robins, Blackbirds, Wrens and even Rats came along for a drink.

I still find it amazing how that once you have zoned in the wildlife will go about their daily tasks around you, coming within metres of where you are sat.

The Hampshire Wildlife Trust is doing a cracking job along the Itchen and for me it was a privilege to see and get so close to these wonderful little creatures.

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