This evening I was out after work halter training lambs on the marsh near the house when a dark brown rodent swam across the dyke 20 feet from me - a Water Vole surely? With a recalcitrant lamb on the end of a rope I was unable to get to the dyke edge either quickly or quietly so there was no sign of it by the time I made it there with lamb in tow. A Rat scuttling out of the lamb pen had me briefly doubting myself but the rat was a much paler creature. After working my way through 6 lambs I had a more thorough explore as the sun was setting and happily found a Water Vole sitting on top of one of the now empty Moorhen nests I've been monitoring. We know we've got Water Voles in our dykes but it's always reassuring to see them.
If anyone is wondering why I'm halter training lambs, the show season is rapidly approaching with the Hadleigh Show a week tomorrow and the sheep have to be ready to be shown in a ring on a halter. It's not an easy job getting a lamb to stand and walk calmly whilst a judge runs his hands over them to check how much muscle (ie meat) there is on them! I'm still at the "this is never going to happen stage" and my patience is severely tested every night after work at the moment. At least there have been no birds to miss whilst I'm doing it.