Saturday, 25 April 2015

A Bless of water voles?

The concept for collective nouns originated back in the 15th century in the Book of Saint Albans and some of them - a pride of lions, a shoal of fish and a pod of dolphins - have made it into regular use.
Yet some seem just bizarre - an unkindness of ravens, an ostentation of peacocks and fluther of jellyfish - and are unlikely to make it into a typical conversation.

The collective name for voles is rather dull - a colony - and there isn't one specifically for water voles. A conversation on twitter suggested a plop and a nibble and these are good descriptive words for the behaviour for water voles, but maybe they are not obscure enough for a collective noun. 
I prefer 'a bless of water voles' as this is the word quite often said when someone sees one of these small, endearing, yet endangered mammals.

And so far this year, there has been a big bless along the Ock.

Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Spring 2015

After what seemed like a never ending winter, spring arrived a couple of weeks ago and along with that, the river and the surrounding area have returned to life. 

The most obvious sign of the spring is the huge sway of blackthorn blossom along the hedgerows, especially along the old canal, where unlike most of the hedgerows in the area, they are not cut.

Another sign that winter is behind us is the songs of warblers, who have returned from Africa where they have spent the winter.
Whilst it is not the most distinctive of the warblers, the chiffchaff does have the most distinctive song.

The reed buntings, who may not have come from as far as Africa have also returned to the river to raise this years young.

Along the Jubilee walk near Marcham, the hares can be easily be seen before the crops get too high.

And after a very disappointing year last year, there is a lot of water vole activity, maybe because of mild winter and the perhaps because the Ock didn't flood over winter.

Another side effect of this late spring is the unexpected return of the blogging muse.