Thursday, 29 August 2019

Points Of View.

Attached is a draft sent to me by Ian Pinkerton a few weeks ago. Ian felt strongly about these issues, he knew what he was talking about, not least because of his long hours of dedication to the breeding Common Terns and Avocets, and to Conder Pool. 

I endorse everything Ian Pinkerton says here, they are not criticisms, just a point of view, and it is important for me to publish them. It is also very important to note his 'Thank You All' comments....diplomacy to the end, that was Ian Pinkerton.

Having enjoyed this hobby for 4+years I accept that I am still very much a novice as a bird 'watcher' (behavior) more so than a 'spotter'. Being unable to drive due to health issues, I spend long hours of my birding time observing at Conder Pool.

I comment on two issues. 

Water Level.

The 8 new islands need a lot of water to help define them as during their construction the water table was affected. This, plus the lack of ‘spring’ high tides (the last one 22/3/19) and the weather generally over the past months has caused a much lower level of water in the pool the extent that sheep (115 at the last count) have been able to easily wade across the shallow depths and tread on nests and eggs etc. My understanding from the RSPB was that following construction of the islands, the sheep would be prevented access until late July so as to allow nesting to take place and a sward of grass to establish itself to attract new habitants. To date, this unfortunate situation is very likely to have led to the loss of 4 Avocet nests, a Common Tern nest and those of several Black-headed Gulls all on the closest island behind the pontoon. If we now get a dry summer, further evaporation will take place. Hopefully, the forces of nature, to provide water, will eventually resolve the foregoing matters for next year. 

The Pontoon.

I’m sure that every good intention was meant and desired when the man made pontoon was initially placed in the pool. It certainly has attracted nesting birds (5 this year) plus their partners and any chicks. This very confined space has meant that the birds end up fighting each other for territory, food and killing of each other’s chicks (not predating). Due to the 2’ foot high perspex sides any chicks have nowhere to run to or hide when attacked, hence frequent corpses are seen. This is really hard to watch. I do think it’s time now for this man made construction to be removed.

May I stress that the foregoing are my own observations and personal opinions from having spent a considerable amount of time at this site each year. I would add that I am grateful to both the FBC & LDBWS, in conjunction with the RSPB and Environment Agency for their work, plus the provision and management of the pool area. 

Thank you all. 



Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi Pete .. I was excited to see your comment .. I hope you are well and having a happy summer .. Best regards from Madrid...

Richard Pegler said...

I had a lump in my throat when I first read 'Pinky's' words, Pete, and I have again now. I wish I'd had the pleasure of knowing him, and I'm sure he'll be missed for a long time. Take good care - - - Richard