A DAY OF DISCOVERY AT THE NORTH END OF WILDEN MARSH NATURE RESERVE

This video is my representation of 24 hours on the north end of Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve. I put two camera traps out overnight and spent a couple of hours on the marsh this afternoon.

Badgers have reinhabited their long-established marsh setts, and new setts have been dug at other north marsh locations.

A heron floundered in the sticky mud of North Pond Scrapes. I don’t know if it was shot, whether it had fallen over and could not get back up, or if it had succumbed to COVID-19. I wasn’t able to get close to it; the heron dragged itself away with its wings when I got too close. I was running the risk of getting myself stuck in the mud, so I left the heron to sort itself out. When I later returned to the scrapes, the heron was nowhere to be seen.

I heard a screeching sound coming from the Island riverbank, and a large mink ran downstream from behind a tree, closely followed by another large mink snapping at its tail. These are the largest mink I have seen in the 10 years I have been warden of this site. I have photographed many mink at this location, which leads me to believe a mink family is living here. This is a surprise as this part of the river is a favourite hangout for otters. I wonder if the large sizes of these mink discourage otters from attacking them – I doubt this.

10 Comments on “A DAY OF DISCOVERY AT THE NORTH END OF WILDEN MARSH NATURE RESERVE

  1. Very interesting video. It was amazing to see how deep the badgers setts are. How many badgers typically live in a sett. Where were the animals when you were exploring the dens?

    • Thanks, Jane, I’m glad you enjoyed this video. Setts can accommodate as many as 20 badgers, depending on its size, the ground conditions and location. Setts might contain many living chambers connected by 1000 feet of tunnels running to a depth of 8 feet below ground serviced by 25 or more entrances/exits. The main marsh badger setts were unoccupied for around four years since a badger died in one of its living chambers. I assume the sett inhabitants were asleep underground when I explored some of the entrances yesterday.

      • Thanks, Michael. That is fascinating. I would never have guessed the size of the underground networks you described. And to think there is more where they sleep. I think you must have one of the best jobs around so glad you share your discoveries!

    • I hope so too, Tom. The problem is that all herons look the same to me and I have difficulty telling them apart. I haven’t found a body yet, only a pile of feathers.

  2. A nice tour of your marsh inhabitants doings, Michael, thank you! And thanks for the info about the size of the Badger’s setts above—not something we have here. I do hope the heron’s situation was natural, not man-induced.

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