What’s that pile of logs and twigs doing on the river bank?
Sunrise: 06.32 Sunset: 07.52
It’s a pile of logs and twigs alright, but one that’s securely pegged and tied-down. It’s not a good idea to place loose logs on a river bank: a flood can easily float them away downstream.
The untidy pile of logs and twigs is an experimental otter holt placed on a dry high point, above the flood water level, at the extreme northern edge of the Reserve, close to the confluence of the River Stour and Hoo Brook. One of three different kinds of manmade otter holt on Wilden Marsh, this is nearest the river, most visible, and the first otters will pass when entering the Reserve from upstream. To avoid unwanted attention from casual observers, the structure is designed to represent a roughly and hastily constructed log/brash pile that does not advertise the presence of an otter holt.
With only 12 work hours expended building this holt, it’s not such a big deal if we need to move it. Although the holt looks like a roughly constructed brash pile, it has the conventional ‘L’ shaped covered main entrance and exit run bordering a 750 mm square living chamber, and a waterproof roof. Before too long, the holt will be hidden by 8 feet high vegetation.
There is a holt at the southern end, a living holt at North Pond, and now a log pile holt at the far northern end of the Reserve. Activity has been observed at the south marsh and North Pond holts. At the southern holt otter tracks and runs have been clearly visible leading to and from the river and holt, and I have photographed a pair of ‘otter-like’ eyes in the living chamber of the North Pond holt with my endoscope.