IT DIDN’T OCCUR to me to sniff the long-horned beetle (left) but, looking in the
field guide when I got home, I thought that it looked like the musk beetle, named
for its musky smell.
It’s years since I saw a water vole; when I first started going out with my sketchbook
I could expect to see them every summer evening down by the canal. Perhaps mink aren’t
present at Askham Bog. When escaped mink spread to our local waterways, water vole
numbers plummeted. This morning we saw scratchy marks on a log beneath a bridge across
a drainage channel which might indicate that otters visit the reserve; they might
oust any resident minks.
Askham Bog is just 5 minutes drive from the centre of York. The circular boardwalk
gives you dry-footed access to this boggy area, created by a glacial moraine. Since
the ice age, it had gradually filled in through natural succession but peat-digging
in the medieval period led to it reverting to bog.