On Thursday I led a family photography course at WWT Slimbridge, the children and their parents enjoying fabulous views of nesting cranes, godwits and water rail. But they also bravely endured arctic temperatures and snowfall – so cold was it that in the end we were forced into the tropical house in search of some warmth.
Friday was a very different story, a fine spring day wildlife-watching along my local river with a group from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species. I even had a touch of sunburn! and sunbathing by the water edge was a Peacock butterfly, my first butterfly of the year. Through the day we photographed kestrels, sparrowhawk, buzzard, grey wagtails and enjoyed moments of blue brilliance as a kingfisher flashed past.
However, the star of the day (and our main focus) were the water voles, taking full advantage of the warmer weather, feeding along the river bank. Winter flooding has changed where and what the voles can feed on through this early part of spring, but this meant even better views for us. With care, water voles allow close-up observation as they come and go from their holes, across the river to favoured feeding haunts. I’m so looking forward to the next few weeks of intense water vole watching and the joy of seeing spring progress.