Ponds are good for….Marsh Harriers

This Marsh Harrier photo can be seen in its natural habitat on Steve Tomlinsons Margate Cemetery Wildlife Blog

A few years ago I remember stumbling across the nest of a Marsh Harrier in the reedy edges of what, at first sight, looked like a pretty ordinary field pond in the eastern Polish countryside.

I was pretty amazed – but that was eastern Poland, where the ordinary countryside is still of a quality which we would automatically slap every protective designation we could find in this country.

So it was exiting this weekend, if not quite so unexpected, to see the nesting site of Marsh Harriers beside a pond at……..

Well, for obvious reasons, I’m going to be a little bit coy here other than saying that this was on a farm on the edge of some well-known areas of wetland in southern England.

In fact the nest site was in an established pond on the edge of an arable field which itself was next to a group of recently-made new ponds, created with funding from the Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

Marsh Harriers have nested for two years close to these new ponds

The ponds were constructed by a pair of farmers who are typical of the new generation – lovers of the countryside, aware of both the natural environment and farming, confident enough to listen, and personally committed too.  Helped by local advisors with a detailed knowledge of what makes ponds tick the site is a classic example of the kind of pond creation we’re encouraging in the Million Ponds Project.

And it’s because of projects like this that Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer was able to say last week in the House of Lords that ‘….the Million Ponds Project is going well….’  and that ‘A pond, no matter how small, is an exciting example of something that individuals, schools and local authorities can all create.’

Well, the individuals concerned have done an excellent job here.

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