Monday 23 September 2013

One that got away

After one high profile victim this week, Britain's cats almost claimed another less celebrated one from under my nose yesterday. This was in the form of what I believe to be a Field or Short-tailed Vole. We were staying with friends in Kent this weekend, in a house with three resident felines. How pleased I was to see them.

I think this is a Short-tailed Vole, on account of it's short-tailed, vole-like appearance. Presumably a young one given the small size.
After our host's boozy 50th birthday party on Saturday, we were lazing around the house nursing morning after feelings when what I assumed to be one of the children's remote control cars buzzed across the floor towards my feet. Instinctively I picked them up without really looking and thought nothing more of it. A minute later, and several mums and daughters were jumping on the sofa shouting 'MOUSE!!!'
We named the vole Jesus, as he was persecuted by the cat but rose again the next morning
Safely captured under a glass with a 50th birthday card slipped beneath, the vole was released apparently unharmed in the garden, where it sniffed the air and crapped on the card before shuffling across the drive to the lawn. It had apparently been brought in by one of the cats the night before, liberated once and re-trapped by a persistent tabby. Now why couldn't the one which caught the Great Snipe have been so gentle?
The best I could manage of the Spotted Crake at Oare in a brief visit.
After all this excitement, there was time to visit a favoured old haunt in the form of Oare Marshes, where I just caught the back end of a showy Spotted Crake before it ceased to be showy. A 1,000+ flock of cackling Blackwits and a couple of close Ruff were a bit more obliging.
A typical scene at Oare Marshes in September
A lot more heavily trafficked now than when I was a regular, it's been a while since Oare was considered one of Kent's better kept secrets. I've seen Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Baillon's Crake, Long-billed Dowitcher, Red-necked Phalarope and Temminck's Stint there over the years, and with Tufted Puffin also on the site list, I suppose it was bound to leak out eventually.

Ruff alongside the road at Oare Marshes

No comments:

Post a Comment