I saw a Bank vole as I made my way to work this morning. Nothing overly untoward about that I suppose. But then consider this… I was driving at the time, my speed was in the region of 40mph on a twisty bit of country road, there are something like 10 species of small mammal that it could have been (if you include juvenile rat or water vole), I saw it for a fraction of a second – yet I know, absolutely, that it was a Bank Vole.
How do I know? Well, the scurrying action discounted mice, it was too big for common or pygmy shrew, too small for rat or water vole. It was in the road, stopped scurrying and sat up as I approached. I clearly saw the shape of the body and head (ears almost hidden, nose blunt, head quite large looking, ‘chunky’ body. That, and the colour of the fur ( lovely deep russet) was the clincher for Bank vole. All done in a split second. I reflected as I drove on, about the power of the brain – to be able to process all that information so quickly, and not end up driving into the hedge! I guess it comes with really knowing the subject, and it’s why birders can identify species just with a fleeting glimpse as their latest sighting whizzes on by.
You won’t be too surprised to hear that I didn’t get an image of that vole, as I don’t generally go for a drive with the camera on the steering wheel! The image is still however, very clear in my own mind -so it is my personal image of the day. You will have to be content with a Bank Vole pic that I took last year instead! 😉