I have 5 camera traps out on the marsh. Mike Averill, a fellow marsher, puts out his single trap on the bank of the River Stour for two nights and bags an otter, a mink, a fox, a badger, and geese. Mike has not sent me the badger image. Just how lucky can a person get? I’m sure it’s beginner’s luck, but you have to hand it to him: he has brought home the bacon this time. There is no denying photographic evidence. “Sick as a pig” comes to mind here. Well done, Mike!
Mike Averill writes: Winding through the valley where Kidderminster sits, is the River Stour, acting like a motorway for wildlife linking the wetlands of Puxton and Wilden. There is plenty to see in the daytime if it is quiet, but un-noticed by most people is the night shift, which uses the river to get around. Canada Geese, Mink and most importantly the Otter pass through and sometimes leave the river to explore the Marsh. Resident Badger and Fox visit the landing place to check the visitors.
Sunrise: 05.26 Sunset: 09.27
8 days, over the past 8 months, have been spent clearing willow and birch scrub along the east bank of the North Pond chain.
Today I asked volunteers to remove a dense area of 2 to 3 metre high birch and willow saplings, and a good deal of bramble, from a track-way we are opening up. It didn’t take long to break through the scrub and rediscovered the most southerly of the North Pond chain, that has been hidden for a year or more. Heavy rainstorms have increased the flow, so the water was fresh and not at all smelly. Dragon and damsel flies flitted, zoomed, and zigzagged over the surface. It was a pleasant enough place to eat lunch, in spite of the clouds of bloodsucking gnats and mosquitoes.
50 metres down from the living otter holt, Mike Averill found a well-used above ground scrub tunnel leading to and from the water’s edge. A couple of indistinct clawed paw prints and digging indicated badgers to me, so I wasn’t overly interested beyond thinking I might place a camera trap at the entrance to confirm my theory.
I thought about the tunnel again this evening: a badger would have to spend a lot of time in the tunnel to create such heavy wear to the floor. Is the otter track I saw leading from the pond area to the river last week anything to do with this scrub tunnel?
Further investigation might throw light on what is happening here. Could the tunnel be a daytime lie-up for an otter bitch and her pups?
Sunrise: 07.25 Sunset: 05.22
2 minutes later, a big hairy badger follows the fox out of the sett.
Haha! The stories camera traps can unfold are amazing and incredible.