Wa­ter voles prove plen­ti­ful op­po­site a brook

Let's Talk - - Postbag -

This let­ter is in ref­er­ence to Su­san Jones’ ar­ti­cle in the Suf­folk Edi­tion of Let’s Talk (Au­gust) about wa­ter voles.

Born and bred in Pake­field, Low­est­oft, I had never heard of a wa­ter vole, let alone seen one. This all changed in 2003 when I moved to Cam­bridge for work and moved into a prop­erty sit­u­ated op­po­site a chalk stream brook. I con­sider my­self ex­traor­di­nar­ily lucky as wa­ter voles are plen­ti­ful here.

Walk­ing the brook sev­eral times a week I would nor­mally see any­where from one to 12 wa­ter voles on each visit, rarely do I not see any. Just re­cently their num­bers seem to have in­creased. I of­ten see ju­ve­nile wa­ter voles and in re­cent years black ones are also mak­ing an ap­pear­ance.

There are of­ten many signs that wa­ter voles are around; nib­bled and flat­tened reeds, bur­rows along the bank, that dis­tinc­tive ‘plop’ as they drop into the wa­ter, the rip­ples in the wa­ter as they swim the brook.

They used to be very dif­fi­cult to pho­to­graph and I went years with­out get­ting a sin­gle pic­ture. Now though they seem to be more at ease and peo­ple friendly, they now no longer scarper at the first sight of a hu­man.

I have had such a love for these lit­tle guys for many years and it is so sad that they are an en­dan­gered species (though in my lo­cal brook you wouldn’t be­lieve this to be the case).

HAY­LEY KING Pake­field, Low­est­oft, Suf­folk

Wa­ter voles caught in ac­tion by Hay­ley King’s cam­era.

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