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24 January 2013
Health and safety
While the cold snap hasn't quite lived up to its promise, it's still exciting hitting the patch but with that comes frustration (I had hoped that someone might find the flock of Linnet from yesterday and the mystery yellow finch that might be with them). Today was no exception. Still waiting for that mega wader to speed over or get kicked up from a ditch, yes Jack Snipe I am talking about you. Even the Lapwings have dried up for the moment, the 3 lost birds of the start of the week were down to one yesterday and none today. But as I listened to Tim recount a few tit bits from his Cambodia trip (he's promised me a bit on vultures for the Twites), we had a flock of Waxwing narrowly missing the visimig hawthorns decked out in their strange fruit. Then a Brambling fiddled passed called once and was lost over Centre Copse. A few Fieldfare braved our presence to tuck in to the fruit, little do they know the suffering my hands are going through providing them with this. Cold and the barbed twigs adding a few drops of blood here and there.
Time came for Tim to go to work and I wandered off for a coffee and to visit the Alex. Half way across the fields I picked up some crow action directed at an unfortunate Buzzard that I tracked across into Forest Gate, presumably the same bird picked up over Tower Hamlets Cemetery a bit later. It was just too far to make out any discernible markings (white rump), after Monday's bird got me a bit excited after inspection of the pics, but I began to imagine I could.
The Alex held no treats, though a Herring Gull got me going again, one day! Off to the Old Sewage Works where not a lot was happening, and what was happening was down the far end in the Aldersbrook, where a Woodcock gave up its hiding place to find a quieter one on the golf course.
Back into the Park and disappointment again over the rail, and still no Lesser Spots. As I approached Shoulder of Mutton I could see a party of Corporation workers enjoying a brew. That's not good, invariable Corporation workers means destruction of habitat in one way or another.
"What are you destroying this time?", I coyly ask. It all becomes too clear what they are destroying. The east side of the little lake is now denuded of the willow and other trees that found footing within its margins.
And for why? Health and fucking safety! It appears what he had foolishly regarded as pond in a natural depression was actually held up by a dam. A dam that extends the 50 or so metres through the wood to the west end of Heronry. New government legislation means that all dams of this sort must be devoid anything that will hold the soil together just in case the levee should break causing a tsunami that could just make it to Paris, or more exactly - nothing. What the force of nature required to move some thousands of cubic metres of earth would be, I can't even speculate. Suffice to say should some event that could manage it happen, the Corporation and Environment Agency or which other clowns are behind this policy would have more to worry about than a few inches of water. It is unbefuckingbelievable!
I was trying to think what we had lost here. I had my first Willow Warbler of last summer singing from the branches that were now piled up to the side of the path. Blackcaps loved it, the Reed Warbler found food in the canopy - at least the reeds are safe and if anything good can come of this it may be the extension of the reeds where the leaves used to close in. Having said that the little path down the side of the pond will probably become more accessible as picknickers and others enjoy the open space, so the Reed Warbler's probably buggered. How the Little Grebe will fare with no protection from stick throwing morons with no protection at their rear afforded them by the trees will have to wait. All this because of the asinine policy of building on flood plains, and interfering with the natural drainage of an area. As if I hadn't been depressed enough about the thought of going to work, I was now.