By Bob Carter
When looking for wildlife, a section of an old drain strewn with rubbish – wheelie bins, an old computer monitor, old armchair and the ubiquitous shopping trolley – may seem an unlikely location, but you would be wrong! I spent less than an hour recently at such a place and what a surprise I had. Within minutes of arriving and sitting on the banks of Barmy Drain (or Barmston, to give it it’s proper name)which runs through Hull, I saw a pair of Coots nest-building, a squabble between two pairs of Moorhens, a pair of Swans, well, swanning around, a couple of small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and a Water Vole swimming and scurrying about along the bank. The latter little furry fella was a real treat. Water Voles are becoming increasingly rare in this country and we have them on our doorstep! These can easily be mistaken for Rats but have a shorter tale, smaller ears and a more rounded appearance – in short,they’ve a lot more ‘aaawgh factor’ than rats! In fact the character ‘Ratty’ in the children’s tale ‘Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame (remember AA Milne’s play ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ based on the book?) was in fact a Water Vole despite his name, and they are sometimes referred to as ‘Water Rats’. Wildlife is resilient, and it is great to see it thriving in our city – despite the few who seem not to care about their environment or the wildlife they share it with – shopping trolleys and all.
Tales from the 'Riverbank'