Water Voles Workshops
Watervoles are the largest British vole and are often mistaken for a brown rat. The water vole can easily be distinguished by their blunt, rounded nose and ears which are almost hidden in their fur. Watervoles are legally protected in Britain and their numbers continue to plummet. The main causes for their decline include destruction of bank side vegetation, pollution, and the introduction of the American Mink, an aggressive predator.
I am very fortunate to have found over the years several good sites in which these animals live and breed in creating a healthy population. Water voles are one of my favorite mammals with their enduring character and cuteness, making them a lovely subject to photograph. These sites within the beautiful Peak District will give you some wonderful encounters with these enduring creatures.
The mating period lasts from March into late summer and my one day workshops will allow you to encounter their many behaviors. I will take you to my sites, which I visit on a regular basis. Great care must be shown when watching these beautiful mammals as they are easily disturbed. It is possible that we could capture some courtship displays by the males as they are very active during this time.
I will show you how to approach the water vole without disturbing them and share with you the ‘tell tale’ signs of their presence. For example, gnawed nuts, shredded bark and cut grass leaves, all clear indicators of their presence. This knowledge will help you to look for these beautiful animals in your own local area. I always listen out for the ‘plop’ noise as the water vole dives for safety when you walk past on the banks, one of my main tracking tips.
Water voles are expert swimmers, but are not particularly specialised for a life in the water. They favour slow-flowing or still freshwater with lots of bank side plant cover. They avoid areas where water levels fluctuate and prefer streams, dykes, rivers and ponds with soft, earth banks which they can burrow into and make a nest, which they line with grass. They are very active at dawn and dusk but during the breeding season activity increases presenting you with the perfect opportunity to capture some great images.
I will go through the correct camera settings, simplifying anything that you don’t understand within your own photography. I will also show you important fieldcraft advice and tips that you can take away with you and implement yourself, improving and increasing your overall photographic opportunities and in turn your own images. These mammals are protected under law and so I will also go through this with you and we wont disturb or impact on their lives during your day.
Most places will involve short walks so will not present any difficulties for you. Waterproof walking boots are essential.
You will need to provide your own photographic equipment, a 500mm lens is ideal but a 300mm with convertors will meet your needs. A tripod and a bean bag is a must.
Appropriate clothing and footwear will be necessary and waterproofs and camouflaged/muted coloured clothing is a must. Waterproof housing and lens covers are also essential to protect your equipment.
Dates & Cost
Friday 23rd March 2018
Saturday 24th March 2018
Friday 27th April 2018
Friday 11th May 2018
Saturday 26th May 2018
Friday 15th June 2018
Saturday 7th July 2018
£300.00 per day, per participant – 1 to 1 ratio
£200.00 per day, per participant – 1 to 2 ratio
The day lasts from dawn until dusk.
All dates/days are flexible, should NOT suit you then please email me with your alternative date/day(s)
Discounted rates for more than two people and groups of up to four participants are available, email me for more details.