Water voles doing well

A British Waterways wildlife survey has shown a big increase in sightings of the elusive water vole.  89 voles were spotted on inland waterways this year, twice as many as last year. There were also numerous sightings of kingfishers – an indicator of good water quality and a healthy ecosystem, and more bizarrely a single porpoise. See also Lucy’s post Canals: corridors of wildlife and the slow-life

Some results

• Although rare, 89 water voles were spotted (twice the number than in 2008), with the most being seen on the Kennet & Avon Canal
• 127 different species of bird were sighted, including woodpeckers, reed warblers, little owls and almost 200 kingfishers
• 27 different species of butterflies were seen, including brimstones, small blues and speckled woods
• The number of frogs seen leapt three times from 2008, with three-quarters of them seen in Scotland
• The most unusual of the 42,500 sightings was a porpoise, a close relation of the dolphin, seen in the River Ouse near Selby and a large alligator snapping turtle, a non-native species from north America, at Earlswood Reservoir, Solihull
• The most water-loving bugs and beasties were sighted along the Kennet & Avon Canal, which stretches between Reading and Bristol; the Forth & Clyde Canal in Scotland, and the canals in and around Birmingham

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