The Fastest Water Shrew on Earth

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 2 November 2010 18:27

There are some very obliging Water Shrews at Woods Mill at the moment and I think everyone except me had saw them...until today. I sat and watched the tiny thing jump out of a hole below me on the bank, jump into the water and almost immediately disappear into leaf litter at the bottom of a very shallow, clear, narrow ditch. It would then suddenly reappear and swim rapidly along the surface before disappearing back into the hole. It did this about 12 times and the only shot I managed to get was the awful one above. It seemed completely unconcerned by my presence, I think it knows I wouldn't stand a chance at trying to catch it! I will attempt to go back and get some better shots this week. It's been years since I saw one of these.
The final stages of the stream restoration are underway, the banks are being reprofiled and the top soil put back, well, on top. If you look really carefully, somewhere in the above photo is a Wheatear, a first for me on the reserve at Woods Mill.
I was not expecting to see a vascular plant tick though. This aquatic macrophyte looked odd, I thought it was a Potomogeton at first but it didn't look quite right and it's actually Horned Pondweed Zannichellia palustris, a common species that I have somehow managed to miss for the last 32 years. It was in the mill leat just off our site.

5 Response to "The Fastest Water Shrew on Earth"

Anonymous Says:

Couldn't see the Wheatear, whatever that is?

Interesting about the Water Shrew, in the pic it looks like someones wig.

cyper web spider :0€

Graeme Lyons Says:

It's perched on some mud!

Chris Driver Says:

Best water shrew views I ever had were of one swimming under the ice on our pond a few winters ago.

John Says:

"Jumped out of a whole" - a surreal typo.

Let me know if you want to discuss progressing the Brighton wildlife forum.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Chris, I don't think I have seen one alive for about 20 years. I saw one when I was a kid run across a road by a canal and got a great view as it couldn't get up the kerb for a while. John, thanks for spotting the typo and unfortunatly I am unable to help at the moment.

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