I spent most of yesterday at my water vole site in preparation for the upcoming workshops: http://www.terrywhittaker.com/section294821_97824.html The voles seem to have settled in well, the females have marked out territories and there should be youngsters out and about very soon.
I'm not sure just what was going on in the above set of images. It could be a male trying to corner an unreceptive female or two females having a boundary dispute. I'm going for the former as it was the pushy one that was ousted in the end.
It's always tricky getting water vole shots with clean backgrounds simply due to the nature of their habitat and sectrative nature. At this time of the year much of the stream is covered with vegetation, particularly watercress (many years ago it was a commercial cress bed) but there are a few clear areas where the voles come just out of cover. I spent the afternoon trying for something a bit different from the usual water vole shot, going for a slightly wider view with as much smooth background as possible.
Reflected trees make a nice backdrop but unfortunately the vole's reflections are not clean due to this mallard duck dabbling around and breaking up the surface. I couldn't shoo her away because that would spook the voles and dirty looks had no effect at all.
She didn't bother this chap who just kept munching away on willow leaves.