Down the Swanny River.
(Click on images to enlarge)
7th August 2011: A family of swans swam on the River Stour today: mum, dad and three cygnets. They were feasting on the Himalayan Balsam flowers that have invaded the river banks – they really seemed to be enjoying them. I haven’t seen a swan on the river since February, but this doesn’t mean that swans haven’t been there: I just haven’t seen any. It’s good to have them on the marsh again.
I did a bit more grubbing in the undergrowth today. I was hoping to daydream more childhood nature escapades, but the grasshoppers were a little lively. I didn’t get time to lie-down and relax as I did last week. I was too busy chasing the grasshoppers, and forgot all about daydreaming. Anyway, I have to be in the right frame of mind to conjure-up daydreams.
I checked my fox-cam and as I expected, the foxes had posed in front of it last night.
Although I am immune to stinging nettles, I am not immune to thistles. They penetrate my clothes, and they are a right nuisance. There are a lot of thistles on the marsh, and some of them are over six feet tall. The annoying part is their needles. They pierce the flesh, and some stay embedded in my skin – a recipe for irritation, if there ever was one. The solution would be to wear heavier clothes, but it’s far too warm for that.
Someone asked me earlier today: “What is so special about Wilden Marsh, and why do you spend so much time here?” The person asking the question had previously walked on the marsh, but was quickly bored by it. They were not seeing the wildlife they were expecting to see. However, this person had been enthused by this blog and decided to give it another try. Still, the wildlife eluding them and boredom set in once again. I knew where this person was coming from! There are many other beautiful local places offering many varied opportunities to explore nature, where both fauna and flora are readily accessible and visible. I know this because I have explored most, if not all of these places within a ten-mile radius of my home. I suggested that they might like to investigate these other areas.
My interest in the marsh is not because it happens to be on my doorstep. I am fortunate that this is the case, but it’s more complicated than that. Captain’s Pool is less than half an hour walk from my home, and it has a far larger expanse of water than North Pond, and a greater number and variety of birds can be seen there, but it doesn’t have the wilderness feel of the marsh. Captain’s Pool is a nice place to visit, but I haven’t developed an affinity with the place.
I suppose the marsh is large enough to be interesting, and small enough to allow a person to be intimate with nature, in a manner of speaking. Hoo Brook, the River Stour, the Worcestershire Canal, various woods, pastures and fields all exist within the Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve. The Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve is bordered on the south, west and north by industrial estates and on the west by Wilden Lane. The reserve is hemmed in by industrial processes – there is even a Mc Donald’s at the north end and a scrap yard at the other. The marsh is not everyone’s cup of tea.
What makes Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve special is that it has SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest). The reason I spend so much time on the marsh is that I am drawn to the place, and I am passionate about the marsh flora and fauna. I have an affinity with Wilden Marsh, and I feel at home there.