North Pond This Evening

I shot this image earlier, an hour before sunset, whilst checking the cattle. The sky looked heavy, like a deluge might descend on the marsh at any moment, but it didn’t happen. The heronry was unusually quiet. Shining a torch on the bottom of the pond revealed a carpet of stationary toads waiting patiently for darkness. Shining a torch over the pond at 9pm would most likely light-up many hundred pairs of toad eyes.

The herd was content for a change; their heads down grazing. Blossom acknowledged my presence with a glance and a stifled moo or two, but the others ignored me. When I walked out of North Pond Pasture into the corridor, the cattle stayed-put; usually they moo, bellow, and  troop after me hoping for the dregs of Buttercup’s pellet bucket. Even Buttercup preferred grazing this evening.

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North Pond an hour before sunset

The marsh cattle in North Pond Pasture to my right

The Swamp behind me

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Wilden Marsh Toads

Wyre Forest District Council Ranger, Adam Wright, sent me these photographs and a short video of mating toads he stumbled upon in North Pond, whilst delivering cattle pellets for Buttercup.

Adam comments: “I met the toads of Wilden Marsh earlier today whilst looking at the cattle. I have never seen so many toads; there was lots of toad spawn too.”

There is much toad activity in North Pond during the day, but after dark the toads are really spectacular.

 

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More Grass Please!

I wish I had this amount of grass in North Pasture at the moment. The herd has had free access to all the northern pastures for the last six weeks and have eaten pretty much everything on offer; the new grass is not happening yet. This photograph shows Waynetta in North Pasture at the end of January last year. Sixteen rare breed cattle grazed Wilden Marsh at the end of November last year, but all were packed off  on a two month holiday because there was not enough grazing to sustain them. At the end of January this year, five of the original herd returned to the marsh; the other eleven being shared between other local reserves.

Buttercup gave birth to a calf on the marsh early February and now supports herself and a calf, so I’m supplementary feeding her.

I found the cattle lying in North Riverside Pasture this afternoon. The River Stour is in flood and was overflowing its bank in North Pasture, so I thought it best to get them to higher ground as soon as possible. The river level is now 100mm higher at 9pm than at 5pm . If I hadn’t moved the herd this afternoon, I would be out doing so in the dark right now.

I’m very pleased that I’m relaxing at home on my sofa and not moving cattle around the marsh in driving rain and darkness.

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Waynetta in North Pasture

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Toad Mating on Wilden Marsh

Toad mating on Wilden Marsh has just started to gain pace.

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Toad coming up for air in North Pond last night.

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Heron Chicks

My day didn’t start well. I managed to drive off the Lagoon Field hard access track into the mire, ending up to the axles in gloopy mud. My son was kind enough to give up some of his free time to tow me out!

As I would be 140 metres from my target heron family nest, I wanted to be in place early before heat haze became a problem; so, I was late and heat haze did become a problem. The heronry trees will soon leaf-up and I won’t be able to see the herons.

I set up my comfy chair hide and settled down to wait for a heron to arrive at the nest and drop a big fish down the open beak of a chick, but that didn’t happen. A couple of human teenagers appeared in front of my hide and started throwing large logs in the river. They soon moved on when I shouted, “Get orf my land!”

This video clip is not yet processed, straight out of the camera, and is better watched in HD.

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Wilden Marsh Heronry

I shot this image of the middle section of the heronry last week, and it’s really getting quite busy. There are more heron nests to the right, left and behind.

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Wilden Marsh Heronry

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Rhombus Field Snipe

Snipe

Rhombus Field snipe

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