Thursday, 10 June 2010

Beyond the weir #2 - The lower Ock

Tipped off by a dog walker, I've spent the past few weeks exploring the lower part of the Ock before it flows under Drayton road (where it eventually joins the upper part before flowing into the Thames)

Unlike the upper Ock, it is easier to get close to the waters edge and there are definitely signs of water voles along the entire length.  Including lots of burrows:

With signs of feeding
And what appear to be latrines - used, like lots of mammals, to mark the edge of territories.

And eventually a few sightings, even if good pictures are somewhat hard to come by:

The water vole map is once again updated with these sightings:

View Water voles 2010 in a larger map

It seems that water voles have really established themselves on all parts of the river before the Drayton road bridge (this matches last years BBOWT surveys). It's strange to think that only as far back as 1998 surveys showed there were no water voles present in the river and now they are flourishing.
But as seen in Radley Brook, a water vole colony is a fragile thing and I've been asked to help with Mink monitoring further upstream, so hopefully we can preserve it for years to come.

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