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.
- 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.