Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a vole, a vole....

The return home from work today was uneventful. Nothing unusual in that but when I got to Braid station, I did encounter something out-of-the ordinary while waiting for the bus to take me on that short trip home. I saw a vole, also referred to as a meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), thought I'm not sure it was that or a montane vole (Microtus montanus) but this little rodent not much larger than my thumb, if that, was definitely a vole. The photo above, and taken from the net, shows a meadow vole (M. pennsylvanicus) and serves only for illustrative purposes. So, as I sat quietly at one end of a bench in a bus shelter just outside the SkyTrain station, the little critter scampered back and forth below the bench searching for morsels to eat. I observed the vole with greyish fur run along cracks in the cement pavement, stopping now and then to check things out, then continue along its way. A passing bus would release a short blast of air and the vole would scamper in hiding only to come out again when the noise had stopped. The vole even disappeared under some newspaper on the ground. The paper moved slightly as it worked its way through to the other end only to come into view again. At one point the animal was right below me and between my feet quietly nibbling on a small piece of paper without knowing that I was observing its every movement from above. It seemed like a few minutes of observing before the bus came along and all this came to an end. I don't think others near the bus stop or passing by even noticed the little visitor below. Oh well, I certainly enjoyed the event and am here to pass it on so you can appreciate this too! - Volker

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