After my Norfolk jaunt I went slightly north west to Derbyshire calling in at my brother Karl's house. Derbyshire is good for two species in particular, Water voles and Dipper. Unfortunately my back is not up to walking to the dipper spot at this time so I had to content myself with the voles.
Chris Grady first put me on to this spot about two years ago, and swore me to secrecy over it's location, but most of you reading this will know anyway. I had time to kill and tried to use it well so initially a walk with my dog was undertaken. My dog is a pest, she barks at everyone and almost everything, she loves attention and it's her way of getting it. So i was a little afeared that I would not get to see any voles or if I did she would quickly scare them off. This was not the case, these voles have become so used to human presence that the few I saw were not fazed by her at all, as long as she remained a good distance away, at least 10 feet. I spent an hour watching the voles before the sun went in and largely so did they.
I went off to Carsington Water and visited the wildlife centre there. A very nice place with well informed volunteers running it. I saw Tree Sparrow whilst I was there, and again wondered how, what had been, such a common bird had become so few in numbers.
But back to the Voles as soon as the sun came out again. Again I took my dog, but this time I
took my 300 lens and 50D camera with me. I managed some shots.
I vowed to return again and did so the next day. this time armed with my 600 lens, camera, and dog. Here's a small sample of what I got, and believe me it is small I took over 200 shots.
Apparently the water vole is this countrys fastest disappearing mammel, it will be a shame if they all go, they are so cute and endearing.
Back in Hereford to await the arrival of said baby I have spent a little time with Chris G. He has been kind enough to again let me accompany him on a couple of visits to watch the Badgers, again only as an observer. Chris has put a lot of time in, with these badgers, feeding them and such. He has established quite a rapport with them, so much so that last night whilst one of the two we saw was feeding he was quite literally talking to it, albeit from a short distance, the badger who he has nicknamed Scarface was not fazed at all, and now after all of Chris's hard work it hardly flinches when the flash goes off. I am very grateful to chris for being allowed to watch them with him.
It is a sett that I discovered many years ago whilst out walking with my first dog when I lived in Hereford back in the mid 80's. I don't mean that no one knew it was there then, merely that I didn't. It was a huge sett then and over the years it has spread out a long way, some of the original sett still seems to be being used, a lot of the bank which contains the sett has however collapsed probably due to undermining. There have been many satellite entrances opened, presumeably as the social group has expanded. Badgers are sociable creatures and will often live in setts containing large numbers. I told Chris about the sett but it has been his hard work that has led to him obtaining some cracking shots. Check his website via my links.
Next time, babies and who knows what else.