After a quite long spell of miserable weather up here in S. Yorkshire today turned out nice. It was forecast to be a good day so I wanted to make the most of it, and in order to do so I made for Derbyshire.
I considered doing Dippers at a spot Chris Grady showed me a year or three ago, but couldn't face the walking, (if only I'd known). I opted instead for a little spot which is well known for Water Vole called Cromford Canal. It has to be one of the best known spots for these endearing little critters in the country, or at least it was. I didn't see a single one. I saw lots of Little Grebe which also provide excellent opportunities for close up photography.
I also saw Mute swan, Moorhen, Mallard Duck, and a Pike (in the shallow water). But not a single Vole was seen. I spoke to the young lady working in the shop and she advised me that the Vole seemed to have disappeared, one or two were being seen but very infrequently.
I spoke to a number of local people walking their dogs and they seemed to confirm what the shop lady said, the Voles just weren't being seen in the numbers they had been previously. I did glean a bit of information about other areas that the Vole were occasionally seen and set off to see if I could track them down.
This is where the walking came in. Foolishly when I arrived at the location I'd been directed to I decided to just have a short walk along the bank of the stretch of water and see if I could spot any likely areas.
Well I walked about 3/4 -1 mile before I saw anything, I was just so taken with the colours and the peacefulness of the area that I forgot that I hadn't brought my kit with me. So I had to walk all the way back to my car to get it, all the while hoping that the Vole would still be present on my return.
It was and I managed to get some nice shots.
I spent the best part of an hour watching and photographing this one, I find them a truly fascinating creature. They seem oblivious to their surroundings but then suddenly a loud noise or sudden movement and they are off, quick as you like.
Walking back to the car I happened across another little beauty.
and then another, although I was very lucky to see this one, a slight movement caught my eye.
It was busy chewing at the bramble bush.
So a very enjoyable trip and most of it spent on my own with just the Water Vole, heaven.
Tomorrow I am heading down to Hereford for the week, hoping to spend a day with Mike Smith at Slimbridge, and a bit of time in the Forest. I'll post when I return.
Hope you enjoy.