Look what we’ve found behind this scrub!

Sunrise: 05.26    Sunset: 09.27

8 days, over the past 8 months, have been spent clearing willow and birch scrub along the east bank of the North Pond chain.

Today I asked volunteers to remove a dense area of 2 to 3 metre high birch and willow saplings, and a good deal of bramble, from a track-way we are opening up. It didn’t take long to break through the scrub and rediscovered the most southerly of the North Pond chain, that has been hidden for a year or more. Heavy rainstorms have increased the flow, so the water was fresh and not at all smelly. Dragon and damsel flies flitted, zoomed, and zigzagged over the surface. It was a pleasant enough place to eat lunch, in spite of the clouds of bloodsucking gnats and mosquitoes.

50 metres down from the living otter holt, Mike Averill found a well-used above ground scrub tunnel leading to and from the water’s edge. A couple of indistinct clawed paw prints and digging indicated badgers to me, so I wasn’t overly interested beyond thinking I might place a camera trap at the entrance to confirm my theory.

I thought about the tunnel again this evening: a badger would have to spend a lot of time in the tunnel to create such heavy wear to the floor. Is the otter track I saw leading from the pond area to the river last week anything to do with this scrub tunnel?

Further investigation might throw light on what is happening here. Could the tunnel be a daytime lie-up for an otter bitch and her pups?

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Birch and willow scrub.

photo (4)20_07_2014A

Mark clearing a track-way.


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Most southerly of the North Pond chain.

8 thoughts on “Look what we’ve found behind this scrub!

    • I will let the area settle down for a few days. It’s very likely that we have disturbed the area too much; the animal using the scrub tunnel might have moved on. If I see fresh signs later this week, I will set the camera trap. If this is an otter couch, it would be very good news. If pups were there also, the living otter holt will be part of the scenery for them and one might use it next year.


  1. in spite of the clouds of bloodsucking gnats and mosquitoes.

    I’d be outta there in a flash. Did remind me though of all the movies with jungles and forests as settings none of the actors spend time swatting and cursing these bugs. Apparently there aren’t any. As history teacher I always recognizes such unrealties quickly. For example, cannon balls don’t explode.


    • Ah well, Carl! Some cannonballs were hollow spheres that were filled with gunpowder and had a fuse. The fuse was lit by the propellant charge, when the cannon was fired. Some would explode overhead and scatter shrapnel over a large area (air burst bombs…). Others were solid iron and were designed to break through fortifications and ships as well as smash through ranks of soldiers.


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