Early start on the north marsh…

Saturday 9th April 2011 – 20:30: I was out on the dew-drenched marsh at dawn this morning. It was unusually quite along Hoo Brook – the traffic on Wilden Lane being very light at this early hour. The sunlight streaming through the trees gave the water in the brook a magical golden twinkling appearance in the faster flowing sections, which was completely spoiled by a pile of tree branches and a purple plastic dog basket straddling its banks – not the sort of place any self-respecting fairy would want to reside, I suspect.

The slack water in Hoo Brook and in the River Stour reflected light like a mirror, as can be seen in some of the gallery photographs below.

Two narrow boats were moored alongside the canal bank, on the west side of the north pasture and, even at this time of the day, the early morning cyclists and joggers were out doing their Saturday morning ‘thing along the towpath – just like I was doing my Saturday morning ‘thing’, except I was not being as energetic, nor was I on the towpath.

The morning chorus was well under way by the time I arrived at the North Pond and the warmth of the sun was starting to burn-off the veil of mist from the surface of the water. I surprised the mallards again and they flew off along the Stour.

Toadspawn usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to incubate, so I was expecting a pond full of writhing tadpoles: I didn’t see any. I am interested to find out if the tadpoles will encourage more birds to the pond, which won’t be the case if the water level keeps dropping. I have a feeling that this warm spell will bring the tadpoles out. Before they get their legs, tadpoles are vegetarians; when they have their legs they become carnivores. I have heard it said that it is often a good idea to float a ball of dog or cat meat on the surface of a pond to ensure that the tadpoles have enough to eat, but I am not sure that this is advisable, or necessary in a large pond – there should be plenty of insect larvae for them to eat and we don’t want to be overrun by toads.

My intention today was to take a few landscape photographs.

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