Serin,Isla's middle name...

Serin,Isla's middle name...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dog Walkers v Birdwatchers round 2

Today i got up at first light and made my way to the Essex Wildlife Trust site at Thurrock Thameside.After a bit of heavy traffic and some still flooded roads i arrived around 8.30am,The Entry road to the reserve was closed due to Flooding but luckily you can still park at the bottom and walk onto the site,either through Stanford Warren EWT site,which i chose to do or directly onto Thurrock Thameside.I have never been to Stanford Warren before,although being right next to Thameside i have scanned over part of the site.Its mainly reedbed,apparantly the biggest of its type in essex,it is certainly a decent size,probably at least double the size of my local reedbed at Berwick,which itself is quite a size.I didn't see too much to be honest,the wind was up but i managed a couple of Stonechat and heard at least 4 Cettis warbler,a Great Spotted Woodpecker was near the church where you enter the site.I heard briefly a water rail and had Kestrel overhead.There are a couple of fishing lakes either side at the Stanford end of the site but these were pretty much empty apart from coots.I met up with a couple of older birders who i had met last week and carried on walking round with them,eventually ending up through the sluice and back onto the Thurrock Thameside site via the sea wall and the creek where we had a single Redshank,on the flats were around 40 Curlews but not much else apart from the usual ducks,very quiet.Back on the site we had 3 Kestrels and a Buzzard overhead but there wasn't much small stuff about.We were actually talking about my exploits yesterday with the Doberman when 3 Women with 6 dogs approached us,all off leads again on a nature reserve and one of the dogs charged upto us,snarling as i got closer,i just ignored it and walked past but it kept following me,snarling.It then turned and started snarling at one of the older birders,a retired policeman who told it to fck off,clearly he didn't like dogs,his choice,certainly don't blame him but the owners were chatting as if nothing was happening,certainly making no effort to get the dogs back,by now they were all surrounding him.He Asked them why they were not controlling their dogs and a full blown arguement broke out,i tried to diffuse it but they were a lost cause,i told one of them that people don't always like being approached by dogs snarling,that it makes some people uncomfortable but her response was the norm,he is just playing.To which the old boy said "well take him to play somewhere else" and it all kicked off again,it was left with an exchange of words which went,woman "next time i'll set the fucking dog on you" bloke "next time there will be 6 dead dogs then",a bit over the top and he said he didn't mean it but it shows how the two parties seem not to get on,its often an issue on bird chat forums.Something needs to be done about this as it is a problem in some places.Birdwatchers are asked to stay on paths but why on earth is it considered ok for Dogs and their owners to be able to run amok wherever they sodding well like.
As i made it clear yesterday,its not all dogs and its not all owners but some places are designed for dogs and are dog friendly,nature reserves are not in my opinion,although if on a lead then i see no problem.There are enough local parks that they could walk around,off the lead until their hearts are content,what did they do before this site was open????
From here we walked up to the Thames and parted company,i went in to the hide for a little while but came out twenty minutes later,i made my way to the visitor centre but while having a quick scan i noticed a large group of people appearing to be arguing,they were at it again,not sure how it ended but it looked heated.
I spent the next hour or so chatting to the staff in the reserve,checking what was on the river etc but as soon as the tide went back out i went back to the hide,nothing too much going on,around 20 Scoters were going back up river,a Red Throated Diver was way out and in front of the hide around 15 Curlew gathered and a Single Turnstone,just after,with 2 other blokes in the hide,yet another example of ludicrous behaviour fram said dog walkers,a woman came into the hide,sat down next to me,well about 2 feet away and shut the window i was peering out of,when i said that i wanted it open because it was a bird hide,she said it was too cold and that i should just look through the window,her dog was actually on a lead and well behaved but shouldn't really be in there although this wasn't the issue,the issue was that she was obviously an idiot.I opened the window again and she left shortly afterwards complaining she was cold,tough..I left around 3pm after taking the usual poor pictures and deciding to walk back to the car to see if i could see any Owls,i didn't but tried Stanford Warren briefly,again no Owls.supposed to be a nice,if not cold sunny day tomorrow but then again today was supposed to be nice and sunny and it was actually overcast,cold and sometimes wet.

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