Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Water Voles Survey and Training session at Shapwick Moor

I led a training/survey session on Water Voles on the Hawk and Owl Trust nature reserve "Shapwick Moor". About 20 people during the whole day joined me which was great to know there is still some interest in this fascinating Vole. We found fresh water vole evidence through the main rhynes (water ditches) which proved that the reserve has a very high population, indeed we could clearly see many signs of population pressure. Example of which was holes being constructed away from the bank side and out into the fields themselves. Many of the smaller side ditches should have had Water Voles, but here because of a lack of management in the past bank side succession was taking place with bramble and Hawthorn being the main culprit, also the water itself was suffering through being choked by vegetation. We clearly identified where conservation work could help the species, but the main message coming from this survey and training session was that Water Voles are doing extremely well on the Hawk and Owl Trust's Shapwick Moor nature reserve. Anyone in Somerset that wants to help on the reserve can contact me direct on and I will put you in touch with the Volunteer leaders. The Shapwick Moor volunteers meet once a month. I carry out Water Vole surveys and also lead training sessions anyone interested in these please just e mail me. I will be surveying Water Voles at Portbury, and slected parts of the Somerset Levels very soon.
Me telling a volunteer there's a real live Water Vole in the water

Volunteer then dives in Water for a closer look!
Hawk and Owl Trust Shapwick Moor volunteers Water Vole Surveying
Well used Water Vole hole
Water Vole feeding signs and bankside hole
Great thanks to Philip Noad who took these pictures of the training/survey session.
For more information about Hawk and Owl Trust and how to join go to 

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