Marsh Buzzards.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Marsh Buzzard.

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.

Marsh Buzzard.

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.

Marsh Moon at10.30am.

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.

Marsh Foxes.

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.

6 Comments on “Marsh Buzzards.

  1. LOL! Mike you have touched on a subject that is very close to my heart with this post. Some of those darn birders are no better than estate agents – no disrespect intended to estate agents mind.

    I am a farmer in the Brecon Beacons and those birders right make my blood boil at times – all the time if truth be told. Have they been granted some sort of divine right to wander wherever their fancy takes them? I think they must have because they wander about my farm as though they own the place and they don’t – I do.

    Now I am an avid nature lover and have been for many a years and I don’t object to townies asking if they can see the wildlife on my farm. In fact, I positively encourage it. I like to do what I can for these poor unfortunate nature starved, pale faced, people – half of them look like they could do with a good meal and the other half look like they have eaten one of my pigs for breakfast. When the larger variety of townie knocks on my door, I won’t let them leave until I have counted my pigs – you can’t be too careful these days. The main difference between a townie and a birder is that the townie is polite enough to ask for my permission to roam my farm and I gladly give it to them. I ask them for their names and addresses and phone numbers mind, and I ask them what wildlife they are mainly interested in. I tell them where the wildlife is and where they can walk. It sounds just like what you are trying to do doesn’t it? If birders have a divine right to walk over my farm, without permission, pulling down my fences and freighting my lambs, then I have the Devine right to set my dirk big German Shepherds, or wolves as the ill informed townie sometimes calls them, on them. And believe me it does the trick – they move faster than a rat down a butter pipe. I would rather have half a dozen estate agents wandering mindlessly around my farm than one birder who has been blessed with the Devine rights stick. My blood is boiling at the thought of them. Phew my heart is proper thumping! I think I am having a panic attack.

    I don’t normally write long pieces like this as I didn’t do very well at school, but after reading your latest post, I was compelled. I have spent so long writing and rewriting this piece that I have gone off the boil now – whiskey does that. I am going to post this now before I change my mind. If I leave it until the morning I know I won’t post it.

    PS. I really like your blog. If you need any help with the birders from the dark side let me know. I have plenty of experience that you can draw on. Good luck mate. You will be pleased to know that I have deleted all the swearing.

    By the way, cracking buzzard photographs! I think that you might be visiting my farm before to long.



  2. Thanks for the comment, John.

    My laughter is marred only by the knowledge that whiskey, blogs and keyboards rarely make good bedfellows. However, you have made it work for you. I am in favour of using comedy to make a point – not everyone can pull it off though.

    There is nothing better than starting the day with a good old-fashioned laugh. Your post has made my day!

    I am sympathetic to the underlying sentiment of your post, but I think you are being a little hard on the poor estate agent. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s a good idea to paint the whole of the birding community with such a broad brush. The majority are sensible people who try their best to abide by the rules and regulations. It is often the angry element causing the problems, but then they do in all walks of life. A group of well organised angry people might get things done. The individual angry person is, more often than not, shunned.

    Signs don’t work on the angry element. They tear them down, so they are unlikely to work on your farm. The “dirk big German Shepherds,” whilst being immensely satisfying to watch, are not really the best solution. Frustration is such a useless emotion! Good old positive action is what works, and I don’t mean in an aggressive sense. I would much rather turn negativity to positivity any day, when possible.

    I look forward to your next comment, John.


  3. I’ve been fencing all day and hard old work it is too. Weather has been lovely though and the wildlife even better.

    I went down to the Bull this evening for a couple of pints with my mates. Sat in the beer garden. It was wonderful after a hard day. The stress fair melts away with each pint – lovely!

    Oh how I wish I had a sensible head on my shoulders. If I had a sensible head on my shoulders I wouldn’t be a farmer. I would be doing something that other people valued instead of scraping a living from the land and dealing with all that goes with it.

    If only I had sensible people around me that understood what I am up against. Sitting on a tractor all day isn’t as glorious as being the steam engine driver I thought I would be when I was a nipper. No I am a farmer and will always be a farmer. It used to be a good job. Now I have to deal with people who think the Right to Roam act is just that – so they roam all over my land. I wish I could just ignore them. I wish they would ask my permission. At lease I would then know who they were and do away with the aggravation of it all. Sometimes I wonder if the birders have something personal against me. They see me as the man that separates them from their birds.

    It seems to me that when they arrive in the lay-by opposite my farm in a mini bus sometimes – binoculars at the ready, they can’t wait to get to the birds. Most of the time I can’t do anything about it because they are nearly always different people.

    When it was just a few people who regularly trespassed on my land, I could note their car numbers, the date and time they entered my land and prove it with a few dated photographs. The police would then go and knock on their doors and read them the riot act and the problem would go away. Too much red tape these days.

    If you have enough evidence to prove trespass, the police will act. This is the key when it is the same people all the time.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not suicidal about this, just fed-up with it all.
    I am fed up with the subject now.

    Sorry, beer makes me moody and whisky takes away my inhibitions.

    Do you know, this is very theraputic. I think I will start my own blog and make everyone miserable.

    What is your next posting about Mike?


  4. Oh dear, this doesn’t look good!

    If I thought whiskey, blogs, and keyboards were not good bedfellows, then beer, blogs, and keyboards are definitely bad bedfellows.

    Perhaps if you stop chasing your problems and approach them head-on, you might then have more success.

    What you need is: “The Beaver Plan!” It is guaranteed to work if you follow the plan properly. I will email you the details. Let me know how you get on with it.


  5. Wow! I have been thinking about the info you sent me all day. It seems a very powerful tool. It’s beginning to change my view of things already. It’s not the sort of information if you would want in the hands of your enemies though. Did you come up with this plan yourself? All of a sudden, certain things that have happened in my life are starting to make sense. The information you sent to me isn’t the whole plan is it? Thanks.

    Out of interest, do you have a Bob in your family?


  6. Good! I am glad that you can identify with it. Not everyone can make sense of the analogies.

    No. The plan is nothing to do with me. I was introduced to it over 40 years ago.

    No. I sent you the introduction only.

    Yes, that would be my youngest son. He lives in a log cabin in Vermnont.


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