Late Evening on Wilden Marsh
There’s something about Hoo Brook Pasture that draws the cattle in. I hope it’s not the smell of beef burgers cooking at the MacDonald restaurant high up on the far bank of the brook, close to Wilden Lane. Sometimes, I find my own mouth watering at the cooking aromas drifting down that bank. On cold winter nights, the herd can be found bedded down in MacDonald’s Corner. It might be the heat generated by the ovens and fryers that attracts them. Hot air rises, I know, but I wonder if the fast flowing brook drags the warm air down the steep bank to the pasture.
Hoo Brook attracts other marsh animals. I’ve seen them all there at one time or another, even herons. Otters, badgers, Siberian Hamsters, muntjac deer and mink, leave their distinctive marks in the mud.
Hoo Brook Corridor and Northern Corridor allow the herd to access all northern compartments. The northern compartments include North Pasture, North Pond Pasture, North Riverside Pasture, the Swamp and Hoo Brook Pasture. The herd can roam these compartments to their heart’s content, or I can restrict their movements to a single pasture. To protect the southern marsh orchids, which are about to bloom, I have closed the Northern Corridor and North Pasture to the cattle. Unfortunately, I am not able to stop the muntjac deer herds from nibbling the orchids.
I crept onto North Riverside Pasture this evening, with my camera and a 500mm lens, hoping to catch a basking grass snake unawares. I think the snakes and other marsh residents have learned to keep their heads down when they see me walking along with my long-lensed camera.
It was a still, quiet evening with nothing much happening. This is what it’s like on the marsh: one day it’s quiet, and on another, there might be animals all over the place. Sunsets can be quite colourful!