Busy, busy, busy!
12th March 2012: Lots happening on the marsh last week. It’s as if spring squeezed through the marsh backdoor when it was left ajar. There is no mistaking it! The frogs and toads are spawning like crazy; the foxes and badgers are producing their young, although I haven’t seen them yet. It’s almost too warm for my jacket. Birds are playing ‘catch me if you can’ games that will soon end in a lot of hard work in feeding themselves and their offspring.
The marsh kingfishers are pairing up, and the females will be laying their half a dozen eggs between the end of this month and the beginning of April. Around 20 days after laying, the chicks will hatch and twenty-five days after this they will probably be ready to fly. The offspring will be fed for only four days, before being driven away by their parents to make room for the next brood.
Comfrey and docs are growing fast, as is cow parsley. Dandelions and lesser celandine are flowering, and I have seen flowering currant plants too. Catkins are bursting out on the alders and willows; I’m not sure if the hazel catkins are showing yet.
There are so many things happening that I don’t know what to concentrate my effort on next. I intended checking out the toads in North Pond this evening, but my energy reserves are low, so I am leaving it until tomorrow. This could be a bad decision: the female toads could turn up en masse tonight and be gone by tomorrow.
I also have to confirm the two possible otter holts. The one high in the river bank is a textbook otter holt. The smaller hole in a lower bank further downstream is a different matter. I took high-resolution images of both holes so that I could look for paw prints in the comfort of my recliner at home. I can see claw marks leading from the river up to the smaller hole, and I am almost certain that this is where a mink lives. The mink I photographed a few weeks ago, the one with the plastic beer can retainer around its neck, was very close to this hole. However, I have learnt not to jump to conclusions; I want to see the evidence before I ‘label’ on the holes.