Thursday, 11 June 2015

Well, well, well... we're in a vole lotta trouble again?

We took our WorkAwayers to Chédigny to see the roses on Sunday...
they are a couple of lively Japanese who are honeymooning around the world...
before settling down to the nitty-gritty of life.

A rather industrial window for Chédigny...
but rather nice all the same!

Whilst they wandered around looking at the roses...
still wonderful, despite being visibly frazzled by last weeks heat...



Just a few of our favourites...
top to bottom:
Nuage Parfumé
Sir Cedric Morris
Westerland

....Pauline and I sat by the Lavoir and listened to the sound of the bees in the flowers and the rippling Ruisseau d'Orfeuil....
the stream that runs through the lavoir and joins the Indrois further down.

We had some fun people watching...
everyones' eyes were on the roses...
and it being the "weekend of gardens"....
in the UK as well as in France...
there were crowds enjoying the roses and the very strong sunshine!!

An awful lot of pictures were being taken...
and I have decided that there is nothing really more amusing than watching someone trying to see their iPad screen and take a photograph in strong sunlight....
I was very tempted to snap a picture of one rather large elderly gentleman in cargo shorts...
using a towel over his head and fullsized iPad....
rather like a Victorian using a "plate" camera...
I don't know where the camera is on the back of an Eye-Pad...
but he was having much trouble at that end of his "arrangement"...
presumably because the towel kept blocking the lens!
Perhaps I should have videoed it for posterity and U-Bend...

I decided to compare the ruisseau with our millstream....
it was wonderfully clear and hadn't had a catchment-full of mud poured down it...

Directly in front of the bench...

I was hoping for shots of damselflies...
but none were to be seen...
the environment was suitable though...
the stream beyond the lavoir was rich in vegetation...

Upstream... beyond the lavoir
looks choked to us... but will give both cover and food to river livers!
and similar conditions downstream, beyond the bridge...

And downstream...
equally rich, not as choked though...
but still perfect cover.
The rosebuds in the foreground and the flowers at the top....
are all part of the same rose... Kiftskate...
a vast climber.


...over which feet tramped and paused only to photograph the lavoir and another vast Kiftskate rose that enveloped it....
which was sniffed by many but to me has no scent...
just beauty!

Suddenly I saw movement... something scuttling... it was a Southern Water Vole [Arvicola sapidus] Campagnol amphibie....
I watched it scuttle and swim... past me and the rosegazers...
as I tried to get the camera switched on and ready...
nada!!
That wouldn't have happened in analogue days...
take a picture, wind on, fresh bullet up the spout...
but with the digital compact I have, there is no "sleep" mode and...
if you choose the option to stay on 30 minutes... the maximum...
it eats batteries working the screen...
you need a bagful of ready charged spares to get through a day!!
My SLRs, however, go to sleep and are ready at the press of the shutter button

No, by the time the camera was ready, the vole was under the bridge.

Many "pardons" as I ran in front of rose-snappers and to the other side and leant over...
trying not to damage myself or the rose...
not... a... sign!!

No way could Pauline report that on Faune Touraine...
in the middle of a "town" full of people, such a record just would not be accepted...
although there a many instances in the UK where they have been seen in town streams and streamlets...
in fact there are photographs of Water Voles with shopping trolleys taken near a branch of Sainsbury's somewhere "opp t'north" [##]...
Pauline came to look at the wonderful clear stream... and just then another, larger water vole came through...
this time I got some photos... not good, as you must admit...


Unmistakeably a vole... no visible ears...
and the dark tail, only half the length of the body clinches it!

but good enough for a 'record' shot....
so Pauline duly recorded it that night...
and  so now we are in trouble...
now we are awaiting the....
"NO, you did not see this!" ...
emails from the moderator...
so, please note, Chédigny is not just about the roses!!
And Water Voles are happy in noisy, crowded environments...
and I'll be going back...
with the right equipment and an apple or two!

Posted by Tim




[##]And some film from one of the Bill Oddie TV series "Bill Oddie Goes Wild"...
series one - episode six...
got that nugget from Wikipedia whilst "glooking"* for the actual image...

I think it must exist on U-Bend somewhere.

I didn't find the shopping trolley image though....
but I found a wonderful site about Shropshire Water Voles [A. terrestris] called...
About a Brook  by Kate Long.

And Pauline found these interesting A. terrestris sites:
http://www.wildlifeinthecity.org/urban-wildlife/water-vole/
http://www.wildlifeinthecity.org/images/uploads/Animal_Facts_-_WaterVoleWINC!.pdf
and this map: Press the "back" arrow to go back one page...
otherwise it shows all sightings for all species...
by going back one page you get A. amphibius sightings for South East UK...
it is interesting to look at the map that loads...
the black and white hatched squares are where there are no observations of anything....
which points to a lack of recorders for those areas.

* "Glooking"... Googling for something

5 comments:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Great story.. Pics are good. We had a small creature running across the lawn... I snapped it camera being to hand... OHHHHH it was still on 8000 shutter speed all I got was a black screen and when lightened the mouse looked like a brown sausage...

LaPré DelaForge said...

Thanks...
to me the Water Vole is the cutest of voles.

Brown sossij?
1/8000 is too fast for the speed of light...
one of the new cameras on't'market has 1/45,000...
apart from stopping the wingbeat of your hummer... why?
You'd need arc lamps to get a photo!!
I think it is there because the makers can do it...
not because it can be used!
Having had the same problem as you, I now keep the cameras on Auto ASA most of the time...
then alter if there is time for more than a record shot.
Sometimes, tho', 3200 ASA is horrible to look at!!

Kate said...

Hurrah! And thanks for the link! 100% vole, you're quite right.

Amelia Frenchgarden said...

Great photographs although I prefer the vole even if they are not technically perfect. You have missed a chance to record a special time in social history immortalising that poor man with his ipad. I did not know last weekend was the "weekend of gardens" in France, I should get out of the garden more. Amelia

LaPré DelaForge said...

Kate... yup! 100% vole...
Amelia, with the French privacy laws, I am always very cautious...
besides, I wouldn't have liked being videoed in those circumstances...
social history or none.
But, it has made me think that an iPad/tablet cover...
similar to the flip up screen guards with side panels that are available for 3" monitors on the back of SLR/bridge cameras...
perhaps ought to be developed.... marketing opportunity for the Chinese there.
In most cases a towel wouldn't be needed...
then...
if needed, there would be a nice rigid support to carry it without blocking the lens area!!
I found out about the Fête des Jardins from the local papers...
there was scarce else by way of publicity... as per NF!
Tim