Regular readers will know that I started photographing water voles last year, thanks to being show some locations by Kate the very knowledgeable vole expert. Many thank once again for showing me the world of water voles to which I have become a lifelong fan :). Unfortunately I did not have time to put much effort into this last year, and so thought I would try a bit harder in this one at the same canal site. It is not the easiest site for photography due to various constraints but I always like a challenge. My plan on this long-term project was to spend my time this year thinking about techniques and approaches to improve the images and importantly learning more about the voles. I am hoping to put all I have learnt this year, which has been a great deal, into a final concerted effort next year to hopefully realise the virtual photographs in my head.
My first visit was back in April, which was mainly a reconnaissance visit to check the voles were still present. My main concern was that an American mink may have found the colony and wiped it out. As I pulled into the parking area all my fears subsided as there sat on the far bank on the canal, in the early sun, was a water vole nibbling away on some grass. A promising start but those photographs were the only one from that visit, although I did spot a couple more voles and there were several typical signs of activity.
Given that the spring had been so delayed by the cold conditions I did not visit the site again until early May, when I figured there would be more activity, and undertook a further two morning sessions during this month before having to head off to Romania. These sessions proved productive and I managed to capture a good number of water vole images but was also starting to get a better handle on their behaviour and routines. I must admit I have become addicted to water vole photography which I find very relaxing, although does require some patience, and it is always a real pleasure to watch the antics of these very endearing animals.
A selection of images from these Spring sessions are shown below.
Just about to drop into the canal with that characteristic 'plop' which I am constantly listening out for.
I have witnessed the water voles eating some unusual vegetation, in this case some ivy which I always thought was fairly inedible.