Thursday, 23 April 2015
Smoke on the Marsh
On Thursday 16th April early evening, walking around Spratt's Water, Carlton Marshes it was immediately apparent that the fires set off by the cowardly and despicable vandal arsonists had completely devasted the reedbed with only the reeds bordering the dykes and a section of the reed bed over the far southern end were still intact. This will, in the short and medium term, have a devastating impact on the wildlife that chooses this area as home, specifically migrant Reed & Sedge Warblers, the threatened Water Vole and a whole host of invertebrates as well as Southern Marsh Orchids that usually gloriously line the paths in June/ July. I was relieved to see the Orchid section over the far end was largely untouched. The thick smell of acrid burnt reed, still permeated the air and there was a depressingly large area of black burnt reed seemingly devoid of all wildlife stretching as far as the eye could see. Despite that and defiantly, I was encouraged by hearing the songs of returning migrants, Willow Warbler, Chiff-Chaff, Whitethroat (my first of the year) and resident Reed Bunting that punctuated the air from surrounding areas and a Swallow defiantly flew over the burnt area. Lets hope the perpetuaters are caught and justice is carried out.