Whilst surveying the Lower Lagoons before Christmas 2019 it was observed that swans taking off from the water took a route westward and always veered south and then along the route of the future Gedling Access Road(GAR). The change of direction is due to a large willow growing in the flight path at the western end of the west lagoon.
Tree Felling at the Lower Lagoons Volunteers have cut a number of trees and shrubs near the lower lagoons. This has been a reluctant but necessary operation to ease the exit flight path of any Swans or large wildfowl leaving either of the lagoons.
Via have kindly offered to remove the large Willow blocking the main lagoon’s alternative exit route. Observations has shown the current exit flightpath will cut across the new GAR at a low level causing high risk to the birds.
To ameliorate these actions we will be planting trees along the southern border of the lagoons during 2020.
Many visitors have remarked that the swans regularly approach them and are concerned that they are suffering from a lack of food.
The converse is the case as the pair of swans are regularly fed throughout the winter with a diverse mix of grains recommended as suitable for wildfowl. Please DO NOT feed bread to any of the Park’s wildfowl as it is detrimental to their health.
The construction of the GAR and future traffic will possibly create a serious hazard to swans if they fly this route. We have decided after much discussion, and taking advice from experts, to remove the large Willow to enable the swans to fly directly west and clear any hazards from the GAR. Also some of the Birch and Alder trees alongside the eastern lagoon are posing a hazard during egress by the swans and these will also be trimmed or removed.
Experience has shown that swans appear to be vulnerable during ‘lift off’ and are known to frequently ‘belly flop’ if distracted. New planting will be installed alongside the southern boundary of the lagoons to prevent larger birds flying anywhere near the road in the future.
Tree felling inevitably, and justifiably so, causes an outcry from the public, however we feel the protection of the bird life on the lower lagoons is a priority over the removal of these trees. It will be necessary to complete the operation as soon as possible this winter prior to the nesting season.
The tree felling along the route of the GAR has also caused much outcry and as an environmentalists we can sympathise with those objecting. It is important to note that the GAR has been requested and planned for many years and the agreed route necessitated the removal of these trees. The Friend’s Group have been consulted throughout these operations and have suggested changes to the plans, which have been adopted, for the re-planting of trees and shrubs alongside the GAR. We did request the saving of some larger trees alongside the southern park boundary, however these were diseased and potentially unsafe so had to be removed.
On the up-side 40% more trees will be planted, 11,000 on the stretch along the park’s boundary alongside the lower lagoons, they will all be native species and provide more diversity for wildlife than the removed material.
Built into the road construction plan is protective fencing for Badgers and Amphibians and underpasses for these wildlife species to transverse the road, interestingly they are catered for far better than human visitors to the park!
We have been assured that no road run off will enter our lagoons and the contractors have provided mitigation measures for the removal of Dingy Skipper habitat. Also, as part of the GAR plans Gedling Country Park will increase in area and obtain some interesting new habitat.