Cam1

Cam1 is a small low resolution Scoutguard automatic camera trap that’s damaged: it shoots stills only.

I use Cam1 to help me decide if it’s worth putting 1080p/HD camera traps out to shoot video. What cam1 and my other four cams are telling me, is that there are a lot of muntjac deer and badgers on the marsh at the moment. I know the deer and badgers are here because their beds are all over the place. The camera traps show me the animals’ sex, sizes, approximate ages, and what time of day and night they are moving about. Although the marsh has a lot of deer wandering about, it’s not easy to see them: same goes for the badgers.

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It Sure Is Getting Otter

I found three separate otter runs from the River Stour to the Lagoon Field’s southern lagoon today; I’ll try to video the users.

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Straw Poll Result

 

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Late evening view of the mid section of North Pasture. The South Lagoon Wood is on the left

The straw poll result: 95% in favour of the Lagoon Field for nature.

I guess, if the Lagoon Field development goes ahead, I will be looking at houses and/or industrial units instead of the wood on the right. I wouldn’t be surprised if the owners start clearing the Lagoon Field before too long, and the wood will probably be the first to go.

 

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What I Know about the Lagoon Field adjacent to Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and SSSI

The camera trap video below shows an otter on Hoo Brook bank, close to the McDonald’s fast food outlet and Lagoon Field.

For many years I have worked, wandered, and poked about on Wilden Marsh, looked in many nooks and crannies, and investigated nature in areas surrounding it. I’m a volunteer wildlife warden. I manage the on-site conservancy, facilitate and schedule volunteer workdays, plan how, where and when the cattle graze the marsh, and physically move and supervise them on the reserve and in the new WFDC’s Falling Sands Nature Area. There isn’t much happening on the marsh that I don’t know about, and there isn’t much fauna and flora that I haven’t seen or watched there at one time or another. So, I walk through and around the Lagoon Field boundaries frequently: seven days a week when the cattle are grazing the north marsh. I’ve seen it at its best and worst in the mornings, afternoons, evenings and at dead of night, in all weathers. I have heard pretty much every sound the marsh and its inhabitants are capable of making, throughout the seasons. I have five strategically placed automatic camera traps showing me some of what’s happening to the animals when I am not on-site, and I use infrared viewing equipment to see at night. I guess I know more than most about the marsh, its fauna and flora, the importance of adjacent areas, and the local history.

The Lagoon Field is the marsh larder, a place of safety for animals to hide and build or dig a home. I think of it as a muscular Wilden Marsh organ: a womb. Snipe nesting there have risen from its long grass avoiding my boots, flying low and feigning wing damage as they zigzag away only to drop back into the long grass a short distance further; they are attempting to draw me away from their nests and chicks. I have heard chicks chirping at their mother’s alarm call when she lifts off the nest. On moonlit nights and early morning during the breeding season, I’ve listened to the drumming sound they make during their courting displays. (curlew call)

On the Lagoon Field side of the Northern Corridor stock fence, is the water rail’s pond. The rail spooks me somewhat, particularly at dusk: when surprised it lifts off its pond making a great fuss and squealing loudly like a scalded piglet as it flies away. Maybe it’s the water rail that’s responsible for some people thinking pigs can fly. (water rail call)

Near the water rail’s pond is a popular foraging area used by the marsh badgers. They have setts in the Lagoon Field and the surrounding hills; they tend to overwinter on the marsh, but there are always a few older badgers living here all year round – my favourite is a one-eyed badger I have named, unimaginatively, “One Eye”.

I’ve watched the marsh dog fox and his vixen hunt moles, pheasants, pigeons, magpies and rabbits, and marvelled at the strategies they have developed to improve and guarantee their success and survival, in times of plenty and when food is scarce.

Woodcock nest in the various patches of sallow scrub around the Lagoon Field, and many newts use the lagoons and pools, including great crested newts.

Polecats and ferrets are here, too; some have been immortalised when passing my camera traps. Ferreting is still practiced on the west side of the marsh, but not on the reserve.

polecat

Polecat at the north end of the Lagoon Field

 

FOX WITH MAGPIE

North marsh vixen crossing the south end of the Northern Corridor, taking a magpie to her cubs in the Lagoon Field

As I have mentioned in previous posts, there are thousands of toads and frogs living in the Lagoon Field. The toads leave the Lagoon Field every year around 9th March; they walk across the Northern Corridor to mate in North Pond at the southern end of the Swamp. The Northern Corridor and North Pond Pasture are covered with them – I have to be very careful where I place my feet to avoid squashing them. After a couple of weeks of vigorous mating, they return to the Lagoon Field for rest and recuperation until the same time next year.

The toads are a food source for heron and otters, I guess mink take advantage of the glut too. The herons snip off the toads’ heads with their beaks, and turn them inside out to eat: the toad’s skin tastes horrible. Otter’s launch themselves into North Pond after dark, making tremendous splashes: they grab a toad and leave the pond to eat it.

Mink
The Lagoon Field is a productive hunting ground for buzzards, kestrels, sparrowshawks, and even an occasional Harris hawk. Buzzards are often seen circling on thermals above the Lagoon Field.

The middle lagoon is boggy with a few pools full of willow scrub surrounded by tall thick grass, reeds, sedges, brambles, etc. The southern lagoon is now a flooded wood, albeit packed full with tall, spindly willow, birch and alder trees. Many scary noises float from there on moonlit nights: growls, grunts, shrieks and screams, as well as bird and animal calls I recognise. I’ve heard all manner of ducks arguing and squabbling in the south lagoon wood; woodcock and snipe hide there and I hear the occasional curlew, redshank and various owls. Foxes, badgers and otters hunt in there. Muntjac deer lie up in the long grass both sides of the wood.

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Otter making its way to south lagoon wood

I could drone on and on about many more positive nature benefits of the Lagoon Field, but I think I will end this post here. The Lagoon Field hasn’t any negative aspects as far as I’m concerned.


READ ABOUT THE PROPOSAL TO BUILD INDUSRIAL AND RESIDENTIAL HOUSING ON THE LAGOON FIELD: HERE

VOTE IN THE STRAW POLL HERE.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!

 

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My Objections are Officially Logged at WFDC’s Consultation Portal

 

My objections to both Part A and Part B of the Proposed Settling Pond Development Adjacent to Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and SSSI have been officially registered at the Wyre Forest District Council’s Consultation Portal. I have objected on behalf of Cullum the badger and all the other animals living and foraging there.

You can make a straw poll vote here: Lagoon Field Development Straw poll. Here!

The video shows Cullum the badger: he lives and forages in the Lagoon Field with his family and friends.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!


My submitted objection to Part A:

Comment LPPO48 – Local Plan Review Preferred Options (June 2017)
PDF

To which part of the document does this representation relate? (e.g. question / option / paragraph / page number).
FPH1 SETTLING PONDS

Do you want to comment / support / object on this part of the document?
Object

Please set out your comments:

I am personally against any development of the former Lagoon Field on the basis of the land being an important and valuable local urban wildlife asset, and home to many toads, frogs and polecats, and protected species such as otter and great crested newt use the lagoons. More than 1000 common toads walk through the Lagoon Field each year to mate in North Pond. Also, the Lagoon Field borders an improving SSSI, is a buffer between protected ground and a main road and other developments, is essentially a floodplain, and a valuable urban nature oasis.

The north end development would cut off part of the SSSI, making it very poor.
Generally there would be an increase in light and noise pollution, and disturbance from cats, dogs, and people. I am certain that both the vibrancy and vitality of Wilden Marsh will be greatly negatively affected if such a development goes ahead.

The Wilden Lane traffic would be horrendous – it is already horrendous.

https://thewildenmarshblog.com/

View consultation point
Table 30.0.2 : Kidderminster sites Proposed for Allocation under Option A
Comment ID: LPPO48
Response Date: 08/07/17 11:40


 

My submitted objection to Part B:

Comment LPPO59 – Local Plan Review Preferred Options (June 2017)
PDF

To which part of the document does this representation relate? (e.g. question / option / paragraph / page number).
FPH1 SETTLING PONDS

Do you want to comment / support / object on this part of the document?
Object

Please set out your comments:

I am personally against any development of the former Lagoon Field on the basis of the land being an important and valuable local urban wildlife asset, and home to many toads, frogs and polecats, and protected species such as otter and great crested newt. Thousands of common toads walk through the Lagoon Field each year to mate in North Pond. Also, the Lagoon Field borders an improving SSSI, is a buffer between protected ground and a main road and other developments, is essentially a floodplain, and a valuable urban nature oasis.

The north end development would cut off part of the SSSI, making it very poor.
Generally there would be an increase in light and noise pollution, and disturbance from cats, dogs, and people. I am certain that both the vibrancy and vitality of Wilden Marsh will be greatly negatively affected if such a development goes ahead.

The Wilden Lane traffic would be horrendous – it is already horrendous.

View consultation point
Table 30.0.3 : Kidderminster sites Proposed for Allocation under Option B
Comment ID: LPPO59
Response Date: 11/07/17 07:53


 

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Further Important Information Relating To The Proposed Lagoon Field Planning Application.

 

 

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Lagoon Field Toads

Here is further IMPORTANT INFORMATION regarding the PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF THE LAGOON FIELD ALONGSIDE WILDEN MARSH NATURE RESERVE AND SSSI:  http://wyreforestdc-consult.limehouse.co.uk/file/875494   

This document was submitted by the owner’s agent in support of their proposal to build industrial units and residential housing on the Lagoon Field.

You can make a straw poll vote here: Lagoon Field Development Straw poll. Here!

 

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A Straw Poll on the Proposed Development of the Lagoon Field alongside Wilden Marsh

WILDEN MARSH NATURE RESERVE AND THE LAGOON FIELD

Walking through a sunny Falling Sands Nature Area this morning, I looked up at the new houses along the top of the high Lower Stour Valley bank thinking of the marvellous view some of the residents have of Wilden Marsh. I am thankful that the River Stour and Worcestershire and Staffordshire canal is acting as a barrier between the marsh and the housing and residential estates along the west bank. The site of the old sugar factory is now a new combined housing and residential estate in the final stages of completion.

We are now faced with the threat of the Lagoon Field being turned over to residential/industrial use. The thought is terrifying! It would be a huge mistake and very bad news for Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and the south to north wildlife corridor it is part of. I am unable to come to terms with the fact that this development is even being considered as a viable option by the powers that control many of our lives.

Anyway, I shrugged off this depressing thought and considered the next positive step towards changing the minds of decision makers behind the Proposed Development of the Lagoon Field alongside Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

I would like to know what people in general think about the Proposed Development of the Lagoon Field alongside Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, so I wonder if anyone interested in the plight of Wilden Marsh and the adjoining Lagoon Field are prepared to assist me by sharing this post and taking part in the straw poll below:

(Check the box next to the statement that you agree with, and press the vote button.)

PLEASE PRESS THE BUTTON AND SHARE THIS POST!

       


Thank you.

Mike Griffiths

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Proposed Development of the Lagoon Field alongside Wilden Marsh

Print

I’ve just read consultation documents and the local planning review relating to the proposed development of the former Lagoon Field (Settling Ponds) alongside Wilden Lane and Wilden Marsh. It’s proposed that the site be developed for either a) industrial or b) residential use, depleting existing resources and adding further pressure to the current and future success of Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. Here is the planning review and a pdf of the relevant section:

http://www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/localplanreview

Local_Plan_Review_Preferred_Options_June_2017_5046759534666220811

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment for Kidderminster: Here

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE LAGOON FIELD PLANNING APPLICATION: Here

You can comment on WFDC’s proposal here:   http://wyreforestdc-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/lppo?pointId=s1465479479553#section-s1465479479553 , or email your objections and comments here: LPR@wyreforestdc.gov.uk

Download WFDC’s Response Forms : Here  (Click on the “How Can I Comment” section)

You can make a straw poll vote here: Lagoon Field Development Straw poll.

COMMENTS SHOULD BE MADE BETWEEN 15 JUNE 2017 AND NO LATER THAN 5pm ON MONDAY 14 AUGUST 2017.

If you are local and interested in how the proposed development affects you or Wilden Marsh, you might want to make your voices heard. Comments are taken seriously, so it may be worth you as individuals officially lodging your comments and views with the local planning authority. This can be done online or by letter.

I am personally against any development of the former Lagoon Field on the basis of the land being an important and valuable local urban wildlife asset, and home to many toads, frogs and polecats, and protected species such as otter and great crested newt. Thousands of common toads walk through the Lagoon Field each year to mate in North Pond. Also, the Lagoon Field borders an improving SSSI, is a buffer between protected ground and a main road and other developments, is essentially a floodplain, and a valuable urban nature oasis.

The north end development would cut off part of the SSSI, making it very poor.

Generally there would be an increase in light and noise pollution, and disturbance from cats, dogs, and people. I am certain that both the vibrancy and vitality of Wilden Marsh will be greatly negatively affected if such a development goes ahead.

The Wilden Lane traffic would be horrendous – it is already horrendous.

If you need further information or help, please contact me.

This post reflects my personal view.

WWT will object to development of the Lagoon Field.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!

mikeatwildenmarsh@hotmail.co.uk

 

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Blossom’s New Calf and some of her Herd in Hoo Brook Corral

A few photos of Blossom’s new calf, sent to me by Ranger Adam Wright this afternoon.

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Conservation Longhorn Cattle on Hartlebury Common

Hartlebury Common, a Site of Special interest, is located at the southern end of Wilden Lane.

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Blossom’s New Calf

The herd was in North Pond Pasture. I walked along the Northern Corridor. Rose spotted me and started that shrieking bellow for hers. Flanked by Tyson and Rocky, Blossom and her calf came out to meet me.

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Blossom and her new calf this evening, with Tyson and Rocky either side for protection

 

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Blossom Has A New Calf

Blossom separated from the herd on Wednesday, so I knew she was about to give birth or her calf had already arrived. I searched the area that evening and found nothing. I searched yesterday and this morning, but again found nothing. On other occasions, cows have taken me to see their newborns. Blossom didn’t show the interest I was expecting, but I felt sure the calf had arrived.

This morning Blossom was within a few metres of the spot I had seen her grazing on Wednesday and last night, again she took little interest as I passed and wasn’t giving any indication of where her calf was hiding. I looked back a few times as I walked down the corridor, but her eyes didn’t follow me.

A couple surveying the Lagoon Field almost stepped on Blossom’s calf ten minutes earlier, tucked away in the grass close to the stock fence. They told me the calf didn’t look so good and that mum seemed disinterested. So off I trudged again in search of the elusive little critter. This time I found the calf, and it was a beauty: big round eyes looking up at me and alert. I reached for my phone to take a photo and it jumped up and ran off through the long grass faster than a startled muntjac deer. So its name will probably be Zola or Usain!

 

BLOSSOM

Blossom this morning

 

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All Quiet On The Eastern Front

Four of my five cams were quiet with all that rain we had overnight and this morning, and it hasn’t raised pond levels one iota; the marsh is thirsty. Cam1 snapped a couple of deer.

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Cam4

A selection of short video clips for last nights Cam4

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