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The Projects 2000-2007

 The Projects

 Bourne Valley Park

 The Greenway

 Coy Pond

 Valley Ponds

 Coy Pond Gardens

 Lagoons & Wetland

 Yellow Fish

 Use Water Wisely

 Op Streamclean

Click to view map showing locations of projects

Bourne Valley Ponds

There are five on-line ponds along the Bourne Stream, all in Poole, all believed to be manmade, and at least one of them the result of mineral extraction activities;

Coy Pond is an ornamental pond created in 1888; a highly valued local amenity, it also supports a number of waterfowl including Coots, Moorhens, Mallards, Canada Geese and a Kingfisher

The reeded wildlife pond at Bourne Valley Park

Upstream of Scott Road (SZ0594SE) are two ponds that don't appear on the 1963 O.S. map, but are on the 1988 revision and are therefore assumed to be at least 15 years old (local residents advise they're somewhat older)

Upstream of Alder Road, South Park Road (SZ0693NW) is a pond that appears on an O.S. map dating from 1945.  The previous edition dated 1924 shows the area as a brickworks, without the pond

A pond on Talbot Heath constructed as a detention facility in 1984; being difficult to access it has matured to become a valuable wildlife habitat.

Bird's eye view of Scott Road pondsScott Road ponds - August 2003

Clearance works to reinstate the large pond at Scott Road included cutting back trees for better access, and clearing a large area of pond of silt and vegetation. 

Silt & vegetation clearance, Scott RoadThis will improve aquatic habitats which will benefit a wide range of wildlife, including amphibians and several species of dragonfly.

Bird's eye view of South Park Road pond & wetland (click to enlarge)South Park Road pond - September 2003

Works at the South Park Road have concentrated on one end of the pond (furthest from Alder Road).

We have learned, from creating lagoons and wetlands at Alderney, that water quality can be improved greatly by slowing the flow and allowing pollutants (often attached to sediment) to settle in the root zone of a reedbed, where they degrade naturally through biological action.  By channelling the stream through the uppermost extent of the reeded area of the pond, sediment will settle and be treated there.

Meandering channel at South Park RoadThe existing stream channel remains, but will carry water only during times of heavy rainfall to help alleviate the flood risk in the area.

Two new stream crossings have been constructed to allow access to maintenance vehicles (e.g. for removing the accumulated sediment every so often to ensure the reedbed continues to do its job effectively).

Feeding the Ducks

MallardMost ponds and lakes will attract ducks - and duck feeders.  

At Coy Pond and South Park Road particularly we see groups of people, often with babies and young children, enjoying a bit of quiet time by the water, throwing bread for the ducks.  Sometimes whole loaves, maybe two.  Sometimes not just bread - we've even seen plates of leftovers such as spaghetti bolognese left out beside Coy Pond!

It is hard to resist a duck begging for attention, and it would seem that providing food for wildfowl would make them healthy and happy, but it doesn't.

Their health

Duck feeding sign.  Click to enlargeWhen wild ducks are fed human food such as bread their organs become engorged and fatty, which can cause them to suffer from heart disease, liver problems and other health complications.

Waterfowl at artificial feeding sites are often found to suffer from poor nutrition.  In a natural setting they will seek out a variety of nutritious foods such as aquatic plants, natural grains, and invertebrates.  Bread is very low in protein, contains additives that wildfowl aren't built to cope with, and it's a very poor substitute for natural foods.

Natural food is usually available over a wide area.  At some artificial feeding sites, competition for each crust is high.  Some ducks and geese (usually the youngest) are unable to compete for handouts.  Ducks become unnaturally aggressive towards each other and a nuisance to humans.

Feeding will also create unnaturally high populations of waterfowl at a pond, and diseases generally not transmissible in the wild will flourish in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

Visible symptoms of poor nutrition and advanced stages of starvation are often seen at artificial feeding sites; ducks may have drooping wings or may lose their ability to fly; they become sluggish and can't escape from predators such as foxes.

Your Health

At some sites there are so many people feeding the ducks that uneaten food is left to rot. Decaying food pollutes the water and attracts foxes that prey on ducks.  Food left for ducks will also attract vermin. 

Waterfowl and rats will defecate where they feed - often at the pond edge.  And naturally, the amount of faeces they produce is directly proportional to the amount they eat.  It's not exactly a healthy environment, especially for young children and the elderly.  

Did You Know?

Ducks and other waterfowl die in greater numbers than most people realise because corpses are so rarely seen; a dead or dying duck will be taken by a fox or other predator before it's found by you or me.  

They will live much longer eating foods growing naturally in their environment.  Please try to resist feeding them, especially with food intended for humans.


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