I Saw a Rabbit Yesterday
Until yesterday, I hadn’t seen a rabbit on Wilden Marsh for at least three years; it was test-digging in the sandy corral just north of Marsh Farm. There was a decent size warren here before the corral was established.
Rabbits were plentiful and then haemorrhagic disease decimated the marsh bunny population. The foxes have had to make do with pigeons, pheasants, moles and discarded burgers; rabbit will be a welcome addition to their diet.
On the west side of the River Stour, close to Wilden Village, at the old sandpit, is a large warren that was regularly netted and ferreted before disease wiped them out too.
Yesterday I struggled south along the Northern Corridor. The howling wind blew me all over the place and tore at my ageing, ragged green Berghaus cagoule like an invisible marsh monster desperate to drag me to the ground.
To my left, a highly excited cattle herd ran through the swamp, bucking, jumping, chasing and bellowing. They are usually calm, except around a full moon. The last full moon was 19th April and the next one isn’t until 18th May. Keeping pace with me until reaching North Pond Pasture, the cattle turned right into North Riverside Pasture.
I was checking the corridor fencing, a prelude to letting the herd in for a couple of day’s grazing before the southern marsh orchids bloom. I saw the rabbit when I reached the corral gate. It’s not a big deal seeing a single rabbit on the marsh you might say, but having seen Facebook posts about rabbits being seen locally, I am eager for their return to the marsh. The payoff is that where there is one rabbit now, others will soon follow; they breed at a prodigious rate.
Tonight I took a look beyond the corral and there are fresh rabbit burrows all over the place, as can be seen in the images below. So it looks like the rabbits are trying to reestablish the old north marsh warren. This is good news because it reintroduces a food source to the predators. The marsh is well stocked with mice, pheasants, moles and pigeons, and now that rabbits have returned, predators will move in to take advantage.
I’m looking forward to an increase in marsh wildlife action.