It's the first of April, the day the signage sets out what dog walkers (who can read) are obliged to do by the landowners with respect to the ground nesting birds. We know some have read the signs, we've seen them. We see them avoid paths where signs are placed so that they can claim ignorance (already assumed) in their defence. A sign has already been destroyed, so we know it has rankled someone and the posts that were trashed last year have not been replaced. Why the CoLC thought it wise to give a few weeks notice of their wishes I have no idea, but on day one, not a lot has changed.
More of that depressing battle later it detracts from what is important: birds. Yesterday my heart was lifted by the sight of my first Sand Martin of the year, battling against the high winds on the leeward side of Alex. Today a Swallow, stunning in its breeding finery, hurtled around the east side of the lake. Tomorrow House Martin? Perhaps not. While I strived to get the slow reflexes of the Sigma to latch on to the hurtling hirundine, Mr Fisher texted the approach of a Rook or two from his Snaresbrook work place. Ten minutes later I picked up a likely candidate turning back to Alex. Through the bins it confirmed itself as a Rook. I even managed a snap or two. It's great when the grapevine works!
Having processed the images the upper mandible appears longer and curved over the lower, something I've seen in Rook before but where both mandibles have crossed. The Coal Tit images I took by the Manor Park allotments also showed a slight disparity in mandibular length. Another thing why do we get Rook now? It's an early breeder, the nearest rookery is somewhere north in the Forest so why are they roaming?
Time to head back and face the selfishness of the human race as I returned to the brooms. I don't like confrontation and usually avoid dog walkers like they carry the plague and you know there will be confrontation. They are like children; it's never their fault, they are trying - I asked a lady in the park to stop her dogs chasing the geese into the water, she took off her headphones: "I try", she said her dogs much further up the path chasing ducks - what about the rest of them? and excuses ad finitum.
Confrontation will happen as sure as coots are coots
We know who the troublemakers will be: anyone with a springer spaniel are exempt from any rules and restrictions, more than two dogs? Clearly only one has to be on a lead while the others can rush around in the grass; shady types with their pit bulls (you're never sure which of them will bite you) the pre-requisite of the drug dealing fraternity; the old twats who've been coming here for years and aren't about to change their behaviour for anyone,especially as Queen Victoria gave the forest to them in particular; and of course the professional dogwalkers. Not sure how their business sits with the Forest by-laws, but one of the frequent professional dog emptier's has six animals with her. When I say with her, they come with her and go with her, but in between times they orbit erratically around her covering as much ground as the fallout from Chernobyl. I waited for her by the main path, leaning against a sign as she collected her charges up. When she looked up I pointed to the sign: "what about the rest of them?". What was I thinking! I informed her that the landowners requested her co-operation and that with six dogs she was in breach of another Forest regulation. Fail, Fail, Fail.
She wasn't happy about me taking her photo. I didn't want to take her photo, or talk to her, but clearly pinning your hopes on the goodwill of seriously selfish people ain't going to work. A pro-active approach is needed and fencing, linking of rough grass areas, closing of the car park and the toy plane field, stopping the fair and re-wilding the fairground. If not we will be looking for another logo.