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24th July 2011: Today was a proper summer’s day and not one of the dreary damp days of late. When I first looked out of my bedroom window this morning, I decided that the heronry would be worth another visit. I have noticed quite a bit noise coming from there lately. After the predictable fight through the eight feet tall Himalayan balsam, stinging nettles and brambles, I arrived at the heronry to find that the herons were not at home. I waited for an hour, but not a single heron made an appearance. I should have rolled out of bed and out through the front door quite a bit earlier it would seem. Someone else had visited the site recently, so I followed their track out of this overgrown wilderness.
I made for North Pond and spotted my first heron of the morning. It was perched in a tree alongside the river. Naturally, it took flight the moment we made eye contact. The buzzards have taken to stalking me over the last week or two, so I snapped away happily at these as soon as they appeared. A flock of sea gulls have taken to mobbing me on my way home from the marsh. This has been happening just after sunset. They swoop out of the sky, performing various acrobatic routines on the way down. I point my camera at them and click away nineteen to the dozen. I have yet to take a decent photograph of any of them: the light is never good enough in the late evening.
Anyway, let’s get back to today. I crossed the north pasture and walked the corridor to the tenant farmer’s field and being a Sunday morning, there was a good selection of bird watchers and butterfly catchers wandering about. Very few of them take kindly to being told that they are on private property, and that we are trying to minimise disturbance to the birds during the nesting season. One of the answers I was given today, goes something like this: “Yes, we have seen the notices, but we don’t take any notice of them. So, what are you going to do about it?” Another answer was: “What is the point in contacting the Trust just to be refused permission?” Another person said: “I have been coming to this marsh for 30 years, and no-one is going to stop me now!” There were a few other answers offered to me today, but this is a family-friendly blog and I just wouldn’t like to see them in print. I can’t imagine what it is about me that brings out this kind of reaction from nature lovers. Perhaps I need to work on my diplomacy skills.
The rest of my time on the marsh, today, was taken-up with photography based things and project planning stuff. Checking my camera traps is always exciting for me. I just never know what they are going to reveal. One day, they might capture the Worcester Beast! Most of the time, though, it’s foxes, muntjac deer, various birds, mice, badgers and the odd domesticated dog. I have to say that the foxes are the most photographed animal on the marsh. Apparently, according to a knowledgable fellow on the marsh today, foxes are not favoured by the bird watching community. The same person suggested that it would be a good idea to surround the mash with a fox-proof fence. My answer to this is that if a fence is not capable of keeping people out, it is certainly not going to keep the foxes out.
The water level in Hoo Brook is quite low at the moment. North Pond’s water level is low, too, but not as low as I imaged it might me at this time of year. The recent wet conditions have obviously helped.