18th Feb. Very much patch based today. Sam alerted me to the return of a Great Crested Grebe on the lake. It took little encouragement for me to shoot down and take a look. As I chatted with Sam I saw a second Great Crested Grebe. We are sure that this will be the pair from last year which we studied in depth. Really nice to see they are back and we are thinking they may have flown in during what had been a very clear night.
Good to see old friends
Numbers of Goldeneye were calling and displaying and the Whooper Swan remains. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and Sam had earlier seen an Oystercatcher.
Whooper Swan. Sam and I have learnt over the weeks that few people realise this swan is on the lake and many of those that have noticed appear to have little inkling as to species
Part of our morning was spent at the White Swan Centre at the consultation meeting about plans for the Killingworth Lake and surrounds. As I’ve said before I’m not really taking the term consultation very seriously, as cynical though it may seem, I believe the plans are made and aren’t going to change. To be fair, I do accept that some of the plans are good ones and could improve the area, although I’d like to see more emphasis on encouraging wildlife rather than discouraging. As I’ve also mentioned before I take with a pinch of salt the issue of people voicing concerns about being intimidated by the wildlife and I as much as said so this morning. Over many years all the intimidation I have seen has come from humans towards the wildlife and not the other way about. Intimidation from their pets too, and this afternoon gave a good case in point when a dog was allowed to chase the Mute Swans. One of the swans almost running into the posts and breaking a wing! The posts by the way are I’m told the beginning of a trial to see if fencing will help keep certain areas free form swans etc. Guess they have to as it’s a trial as the consultation is on the day that the work began! As I say however some of the ideas are good ones and I only hope that the council do not simply listen to the views of a vocal minority of people. There were a number of vested interests represented today but the atmosphere was friendly and all seemed to take others views into account without showing any animosity. That’s how it ought to be. I was told that this wasn’t the case on Saturday and that some face some hostility. If that’s true there are some who should feel ashamed. I like to think I left that kind of behaviour in the primary school yard!
Anyway I provided two pages of thoughts from Sam and me. I’m hoping who ever gets this to read can understand my writing. We have suggested some educating about the lake wildlife and have even offered our services, so no one can claim we make a noise and then walk away. It’ll be interesting to see if the council responds. Anyone who watches the lake may see some changes in the near future. Now that the Great Crested Grebes are back I only hope their breeding attempts and that of other birds is not disturbed. We intend to email the Council so that there won’t be any excuses should this occur!