Fox Den Watching: 2nd Visit.

Common Ramping-fumitory.

17th April 2012 – 6 pm to 8 pm: This evening was pretty much a re-run of yesterday evening: I didn’t see a single fox. The sky was overcast, and a cold wind howled from the south – right down the back of my neck, as it happens! I was prepared for it this time, though, I put on my emergency lightweight cagoule.

I sat watching the den through my camera eyepiece. To pass the time, I listened to podcasts on my iPod. Half way through my watching stint, I saw two men creeping along the row of trees and bushes to my left. They stopped regularly and peered through gaps in the bushes. Eventually, they arrived at the elder tree in which I was sitting. The first man parted the branches and peered through. “Can you see anything?” whispered the second man “No!” replied the first man. They continued working their way along the row of bushes until I could no longer see or hear them. Perhaps they were looking for the fox’s den….

Another two men interrupted my concentration later in the evening. They were walking along a wide track in the lagoon field, talking loudly to each other, laughing and joking as they went. They made their way out through a hole that had been cut in the chain-link fence, and then drove away down Wilden Lane in a grey car. These were probably birders: they had binoculars around their necks.

I came across a particularly belligerent birder last year, who informed me that if the holes in the lagoon field fences were ever repaired, he would personally cut through them again. He proudly announced that he had a problem with authority. He continued to harangue me, whilst his four or five unleashed dogs ran wildly out of control around him. It amazes me that a so-called ‘bird watcher’, having a self-confessed all-consuming interest in birds, can show such little regard for either the security of ground-nesting birds, or the environment in which they nest. Some don’t seem to care that they, or their dogs, might step on ground nests and destroy the eggs that might be within them. What is the point in watching birds and not care about their welfare – I am unable to fathom the person’s logic?

I suspect that den watching between 6 pm, and 8 pm might not deliver the desired results; maybe I should try a 6am to 8am slot.

Marsh Access Reminder: The bird nesting season has begun, and the marsh remains closed to the public. Worcestershire Wildlife Members, you are permitted to walk along the river bank to the first seven bar steel gate.

Note Regarding Badgers:
You need a good excuse to be around badger setts these days. A person found near a sett could be asked to prove that they are not involved in a badger-related crime.

Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, in England and Wales (the law has been amended in Scotland) it is against the law to:

  • Wilfully kill, injure or take a badger.
  • Cruelly mistreat a badger.
  • Dig for a badger.
  • Intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy a badger sett – or obstruct access to it.
  • Cause a dog to enter a badger sett.
  • Disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett.

9 Comments on “Fox Den Watching: 2nd Visit.

  1. It’s amazing you ran into that response, and lack of respect / regard for as you say, not only the ground-nesting birds, but all the other habitats. I’ve encountered some extremely kind birders, but I’ve also met up with…purely accidentally on my walks…extremely angry birdwatchers. Just angry people. They seem to think that I, and I alone, disrupted the entire flow of the Natural Kingdom with my sheer presence. It’s awesomely hysterical. I’m sorry for these birders’ ignorant disregard for their natural surroundings, however. 🙁

    • Luckily, it is not a big problem and I am not easily intimidated.The people who are allowed to access the marsh are Trust members, and they understand what we are trying to achieve on this Flagship nature reserve and Special Scientific Interest. The aim of the marsh owners, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, is conservation of wildlife. The areas in which the ground-nesting birds breed are so narrow, sandwiched between the River Stour and Wilden Lane, that we try minimise disturbance to the birds by restricting people’s access. This is unfortunate, but necessary.

      I think the reason I receive verbal abuse from a small number of the people who shouldn’t be on the marsh in the first place, is that people don’t generally like being found doing things that are against the rules. 🙂

  2. The story reminds me of a friend. He belong to a long range recon squad. He said he prefered to be out in the field like that because he could pick the time and place of his own fights.

    • I’m not allowed to fight people on the marsh, Ten, it’s against the rules. Ha! I get the point, though. Thanks for your support. 🙂

  3. Why is it, that the person committing the “offense” is usually SO aggressive? It’s as if a portion
    of their brain leaked out and it’s now filled with …………….air.

  4. The commonest reason I am given by people I find on the marsh, who shouldn’t be there, is: I have been coming here for thirty years. I would like to know why it’s always thirty years. 🙂

  5. “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” I’m sure being calm when talking to them helps to keep their beligerence down and maybe make them re-think their illogical stance.

    Aside from that, I loved the suspense in this with the first two men wandering by you unawares. Great storytelling!

  6. You are absolutely right, Dezra. I will make sure to take honey down the marsh with me when I plan to photograph flies. I have to confess, that I find cow dung quite good, too. I agree that vinegar isn’t good for attracting flies, but it tastes very good on fish and chips.

    I’m glad you liked the story. If I wasn’t concerned about giving away the position of the fox den, I would have jumped out of the tree and frightened the life out of them. 😉

  7. Pingback: The Fox’s Breeding Season Begins Again | The Wilden Marsh Blog

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