Saturday, 6 June 2015

After 40 years, give or take a year

With an athletics meet in Newport today to attend, I had a choice of venues before hand. Goldcliffe for the female Red-necked Phal' that had been around for a couple of days, or Magor Marsh to try to catch up with Mr Ratty. Fueled by Phil and Martin's brief encounter last week, and the fact it must be 40 years since I'd last seen a Water Vole, Magor Marsh won. A wise choice as the Phal' does not appear to have been seen at all today.

Arriving not long after 6 (I know, lie in again,  didn't get up till 5) to a strong breeze but bright sunshine, I followed the boardwalk round the reserve. Plenty of signs of activity from the Voles but not a ripple never mind a plop. A serenading Cuckoo and a reeling Gropper kept me entertained.

Walking along side one of the reens and I noticed a movement about 1 meter from my feet, a dark brown furry rump and tail dissapearing.Tail didn't look quite right for Brown Rat, but what did a Water Voles look like?. No plop, nothing swimming across the reen. Where did it go? About 20m furher on, a movement on the far bank, and. YES!!! Ratty muching away quite unconcerned, allowing me to get the camera out and a couple of snaps taken - I was facing east, into the low sun, so the light was ............ (Does this make me a togger?), but one decent shot.

I heard at least 3 other Voles along the same stretch of reen.

A Hairy Dragonfly posed nicely whilst I tried to get to grips with the Amber Snails.

The Amber snail, above, is quite widely distributed in wetland habitats, though I've not yet recorded it in Cynon or Taff valleys. Magor Marsh hosts a second, more restricted, species, Pfeiffer’s Amber Snail. This can be distinguished, I understand, by its darker colouration.


  1. Glad you caught up with the Water Vole, nice shot too.

  2. Good work. I'm not really into snails, though I tend to record White lipped and Brown Lipped snails when I take the trouble to identify them. I have got a photo, however, taken at Cors Bryn-y-gaer, of a snail looking very much like that Golden Snail, What struck me about it was that the shell was translucent enough for the blood vessels to be seen clearly through it. If I can find the photo, I'll post it on here.