An arachnophobe is perhaps not the best thing to be when your job often takes you into dark spaces in search of bats. Many is the time when I have entered a loft or other roof void only to come face to face with hordes of the 8-legged gits, or at the very least been plastered in their evil webs.
Every so often though, my highly rational (in Darwinian terms) fear is forgotten when you strike gold...as in this case when a routine roof inspection revealed the presence of a truly amazing Brown long-eared bat having sex doggy style. The tiny ball of fur/leather was going for it big style, ensuring his lady had a treat to end all treats. The photo does not pick up the tiny beads of sweat on his wrinkled brow, but rest assured he was a studdly...
If you go down to the woods today you won't see a water vole. Go to a suitable river and you might. Or, more likely, you will just find their poo. Can't miss it...looks like tiny liquorice sweeties, left in nice neat little piles on the river bank...
There aren't so many water voles around these days thanks to vegetarians. Yes, you heard me...bloody vegetarians. In one of the biggest ecological feck-ups in history, vegetarian bunny-hugging do-good know-nothing animal rights 'activists' have been responsible for the demise in one of our most charasmatic native mammalian friends. Don't like mink farms? Well, neither do I much, but releasing thousands of the non-native ferocious water vole-eating predators into the unprepared British countryside was a bit fecking stupid you twats. Mostly thanks to you good old Ratty has declined by about 95% in the last 15 years or so. Nice one.
So I think I can be justified in feeling a little pleased when I come across firm, or runny, evidence that in some places, yet untouched by the mink menace, water voles are doing rather well.
A sign that at least all our countryside's not buggered.