Saturday, April 01, 2006

Around the Rock Pile

On a rocky slope outside our bedroom window we have set up a birdbath with a dripper. This small water-feature has proved to be very attractive to all sorts of animals. Nearly any time we look out the window we see a number of birds or animals awaiting their turn to drink or bathe in the small pool.

A short way below the birdbath is a pile of rockā€¦ When I sit very quietly and patiently I am frequently rewarded with a view of a small chestnut brown creature who seems to race from one rock pile to another in the blink of an eye. I am told that these guys are most active at night although I frequently see them in the daytime and it is too dark for me to see them most nights.
Southern Red-backed Vole Clethrionomys gapperi
If you look closely - you may be able to spot one of the entrances to his tunnel directly behind his tail.
The Southern Red-backed Vole is quite small, only about five inches long. His back is bright chestnut brown and his tummy and feet are gray. They seem to strip a lot of our bulbs out of our garden as well as pick up sunflower seeds dropped from the birdfeeders.


Blogger Susan Gets Native said...

So THAT'S what a vole looks like!
I should take a better look at the varmints running around the edges of our yard. I see a blur of gray fur, I think *mouse*.
The vole is cute! (Of course, remember that this is coming from a woman who has pet rats)
Your blog is so relaxing...thanks! I need it! (You know how life is for've read my blog!)

10:16 PM  
Blogger Gwyn said...

Your vole is a lot cuter than ours here. I don't think I've ever seen one like that!

11:27 PM  
Blogger Pam in Tucson said...

What a pretty little creature. Super photos! You captured him beautifully. We have similar problems with gophers eating bulbs and other plants. I remember sitting in the garden our first year here and watching in amazement when a row of plants disappeared into the ground, one by one.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Sunday Scribblings said...

Ooh, I love this little critter. Thanks for posting the photo -- I've mentioned voles in passing in my book, among other critters, and I've seen photos before but not so much in action as your guy. My parents have recently been sighting flying squirrels at their bird feeders -- they live in the woods outside of Portland, Oregon -- but I haven't gotten a glimpse yet. So fun!

1:50 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Oops - meant to post that last one as me!

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Are voles in the gopher family? How in the heck you get these close-up photos of a scurrying animal must mean a very good camera and/or gifted photog. You may have told me before, but what do you shoot with?

4:24 AM  
Anonymous pablo said...

Ewwww! They drink from the same water they bathe in? Nice pix you've managed of the vole. That alone is worth the cost of admission.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Leazwell said...

That you can speak so kindly about those villainous creatures is to your credit. I can hardly have a tulip around here because of them! I am, however, glad to see what they look like - stealthy rascals.

9:09 AM  
Blogger LauraHinNJ said...

He's cute. Once had a mole (I think it was) almost scurry up my pant leg when I was out turning over the garden in early spring. That was not nearly so cute!

9:48 AM  
Blogger threecollie said...

I am so impressed that you could get a picture of a fast moving animal like this, that is so clear! NeaT

10:32 AM  
Blogger Rexroth's Daughter said...

What a beautiful shot of a scurrying vole. We have them here, but have never seen them long enough to get a photograph. Our kitty cat tries to keep their population under control, so they don't like to come out when he's around. They really are cute.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Cynthia E. Bagley said...

What a natural picture... I love the colors and how they blend together. And, that is the first vole I have ever seen. :-)

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Aw he or she is cute. I'm sure I got some around here too. But all I see are the chipmunks and the deer.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

susan k. williams
I do think the vole is cute (even if I don't keep pet rats) hope you find more relaxation in your life SOON

we have two kinds here, this is the cutest of the two. Also a shrew who is a bit agressive.

pam in tucson
It seems that they think we plant bulbs each winter just to help fill their larder.

sunday scribblings aka laini
these little guys move like electricity --- they simply poke their noses out and next thing I know they are at the top of the hill.

fran aka redondowriter
My haandbook says they belong to the mouse and rat family. I prop my camera on a window ledge and listen to an audio tape while I wait for them to come into camera range... I am primarily using two cameras a canon sureshot with a doubler and a canon rebel with an EF 70-300mm stabilized lens.

they sure do, just like kids at the lake or swiming pool.

Guess when I chose to live in the country I knew I was the outsider so the critters don't bother me as much as they did when I was in the city.

he is cute -- we have had both moles and gophers as short time pets when our children were small - put them in an acquarium and watched them until dad could take them out to an empty field or park.

for some reason he cooperated - I have not yet developed the skill to get these shots without some cooperation from the subject.

rexroth's daughter
We don't have a kittie, but I have seen a fox waiting patiently near the vole hole.

cynthia e bagley
thanks so much cynthia - glad you like it.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

I am always impressed, not only by your photos, but by your knowledge. Today my wolfie and I sat and watched a family of chipmonks running around in the leaves. The snow has finally melted. They were very lucky that my companion was on her leash though--they were quite daring.

7:26 PM  
Blogger boredomrebel said...

that is awesome

2:20 PM  

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