Unruly badgers and foxes.
Sunrise: 07.47 Sunset: 06.0o
Over three evening recently, I worked the marsh by head-torch light; it’s dark by 6.30 pm.
Badgers and the north marsh foxes have spent too much time at the living otter holt, so I built a couple of barriers to keep them outside. At the moment, the foxes can still climb into the holt compound if they really tried, but I am banking on them being too lazy, and I will mount branches vertically along the tops of the barriers when I get a chance. A camera trap has shown that only a mouse and a few birds have entered the site during the last three days and nights. The mouse runs over the camera to get rice I place each evening on top of an upturned log, a little way out from the pond bank. The upturned log is supposed to be an otter sprainting post. Each night, over twenty consecutive journeys are needed to transfer all the rice booty from the sprainting post to the mouse’s larder.
Another reason for barriers is that cattle will soon roam this area, and it’s important that they are not able to trash the holt area when drinking from North Pond.
Darkness falls at around 6.30; a mallard quacks from the flooded withy wood – other ducks quickly join in. A barn owl screeches; the ke- wick of a female tawny owl follows and is answered by a male. A water rail shrieks from the island, sounding like a piglet caught in a fox’s mouth. In fact, it seems that all the marsh birds are having their penny’s worth. Even muntjac deer begin barking before the shouting subsides and peace returns. The cacophony last no more than ten minutes, but it’s an evening ritual on the marsh. OK, so this marsh concert doesn’t follow the exact same script every evening, but it is close, and it does start with the quacking of a duck.
Short vid of the mouse: http://youtu.be/HRLI72LOOKo