Friday, February 17, 2012

Casual vole

Twan and I were chatting in his office this week after a day of meetings when he noticed a little visitor outside the window. This was not of the bird variety (February sure can be one quiet month) but was still welcome at the coastal grasslands. It was a new addition to the Stratford Point list yet had been seen on innumerable occasions already and is likely one of our most abundant residents - huh?

Well, the Meadow Vole below was never noted on its own as a species on the property, as they rarely creep out into the open for any type of prolonged viewing. The little rodent was frustrating me, as I could not get a good shot with the setting sun, the vole's quick little movements and position in the shade. I also had to shoot through a window. This was the best I could do.

It was likely creeping out only because it could scurry right back under our porch that was less than two feet from where it wanted to be. I realized I had indeed seen many voles at Stratford Point before but they were always in the talons of a bird like the White-tailed Kite, a fact Twan had recalled a moment earlier. Isn't it incredible that it could feed off of them for over two months yet this is the first time I had ever seen one in thousands of hours there in the past few years?

We had a couple Snowy Owl visits in the late fall and early winter, though none since January 1, and occasionally we see a Harrier or two around. Otherwise there have not been any raptors specializing in small mammals present. Perhaps, if this one could be bold enough to be seen in broad daylight in such pleasant and easy to cope with weather conditions, we have a strong population going again. Or maybe just a number of complacent, cozy, and now casual voles. Cue the Snowy Owl again, please...or even our White-tailed Kite.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

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