Posted by: Ross Gardner | May 24, 2015

Resilience

Grassland and scrub at Wat Tyler Country Park.  Ross Gardner 2013.

Grassland and scrub at Wat Tyler Country Park. Ross Gardner 2013.

With the all too frequent tales of decline and degradation it is easy to overlook nature’s resilient side.  I work on the Education Team at Wat Tyler Country Park and here is a place where I will often see this being brought into clear focus.

Many who live within our larger towns and cities would find the description of it familiar enough.  It is a sizeable chunk of green space, set beside the South Essex urban sprawl of Basildon.  It is fair to say that it gets its fair share of the pressures of sometimes considerable footfall.  A sunny weekend afternoon can see the park very busy with people and must always need to cope with the not always most conscientious of dog walkers.  Yet its scrubby woodland, open grassland and wetland habitats still harbour a great deal.  The are many more eyes that watch the coming and goings of humans that many would give credit to.

Whitethroat fill the scrub at Wat Tyler.  Copyright 2014 Ross Gardner.

Whitethroat fill the scrub at Wat Tyler. Copyright 2014 Ross Gardner.

Last week I sat to eat my lunch beside a weed-filled and reed-lined ditch, with the sound of Cetti’s and Reed Warbler ringing in my ears.  Stickleback darted through the open water, while a male Hairy Dragonfly surveyed – to and fro – its above surface domain.  The sound of a Cuckoo and then the slender, falcon-esque profile of the bird itself passing overhead and across the reed-bed.  Is this sound ominous to the warblers and whitethroat among the reeds and scrub, or do they not anticipate the fate that might befall their brood?  Elsewhere bumblebees are busy (the rare Shrill Carder Bee is present in the park) and butterflies – Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood and Peacock – are drawing frequent attention; I later saw my first Small Heath of the year.

While its declines can be alarming, nature’s resilience can be equally as surprising.

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