I was down on the marsh last night and again tonight. Last night was quiet and uninspiring. I saw a few pairs of eyes staring back in the beam of my head torch, but the marsh seemed subdued. Tonight, though, was the reverse of last night. I was surrounded by pairs of brightly shining eyes when walking through the Lagoon Field ar the north end of the marsh. I looked down from the North Corral into Hoo Brook Pasture, the new corridor leading to the Riverside Pasture, and the swamp. Deer were wandering about down there, barking for a mate. Walking south along the Northern Corridor, towards Marsh Farm, there was animal activity on both sides of the stock fences, mostly deer. I saw the north marsh dog fox and his vixen prowling the banks of North Pond, and there was strange grunting, groaning, and snorting coming from within the flooded Withy Wood – my head torch lit up eyes in there too. It sounded like wild boar rooting about, but it’s more likely to have been badgers. Whatever was in there frightened a lot of ducks and pigeons into the darkness of the night sky. There was also a strange whooping sound. I’ve heard it a few time in Withy Wood and on the island, but I have no idea what animal is making the call: a whooping bird I expect.
Fortunately, it takes more than a bit of grunting, groaning, snorting and whooping to put the wind up me, so I continued on my way to the corral and cattle at the Marsh Farm end of the Northern Corridor.
Most of the cattle were lying down, eyes closed, on the dry sandy ground of the corral, in an area we call the beach. The whole herd has spent the nighttimes here since I gave it access last week. I see the cattle sauntering down the corridor to the Swamp when I’m taking Spike on his early morning walks through Hoo Wood.
Below are a few images of the cattle in the corral tonight.