Breakfast with “Ratty”

This water vole dwells just a few metres away from the top of the marsh in the rhynes (drainage ditches) of Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve.


This hamster-sized, furry bundle with shiny eyes of jet black beads was breakfasting on a succulent blade of grass by the bank.


The rhyne was covered with a thick green carpet of weed buoyed up by fallen reeds and “ratty” scurried across as if walking on water but was dunked unceremoniously whenever the carpet gave way.  I left this wet and slightly disheveled water vole feasting on an extra chunky stem amongst the reeds.  What a great way to start the day!


Watercolours and charcoal:
burnt sienna, raw umber and sap green


Unhappy with this watercolour sketch I used charcoal to liven it up . . .

. . . and continued using it for the other sketches.




This water vole was seen early on 12 May

Sketch Notes (top sketch)
Water vole: charcoal and graphite
Reeds : raw umber and permanent rose watercolours finished with charcoal
Weeds and grass: Supracolour watercolour pencils – jade green, lime green and light green.

Useful links: (links open in a new window)

About the water vole

About Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve




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