WHISPERING SMITH: You cannot keep a good coot down!

A coot with its chicks
A coot with its chicks

BBC’s Springwatch is over. Three weeks of sheer delight from Chris Packham and the team. Nature for all ages, entertaining without dumbing down the science behind what you see.

It is reassuring in many ways that Packham is out there keeping watch on the wildlife of Britain – and the world of birds internationally.

I fear that he will be much needed in the future with the appointment of Michael Gove as environment minister.

Mr Gove is no knight in shining armour when it comes to the protection of our wildlife, and neither is our standing MP.

I wrote to Mr Gibb prior to the election asking him if he was in favour of a repeal to the hunting ban, but he did not even bother to acknowledge the letter which, given his voting record on the subject, was of no great surprise.

I guess he is not best pleased along with the other ‘Jolly John Peels’ that such a move has now been dropped from the Conservative manifesto.


I have considerable concern, as I know many of you do, that in some quarters there is a weird lack of empathy or understanding of our wildlife.

I bumped into an old friend in Mewsbrook Park who told me he had very recently remonstrated with a mother who was actually encouraging her children to throw stones at a sitting coot.

She could see no reason for his intervention claiming the children were merely bombing the birds.

Bombing? I ask you.

He explained to her she would be reported as it was an offence and she left the park.

Well done, sir.


ON the bright side, David Chase, owner of the cafe, has purchased two covered floating nest boxes which it is hoped coots will use giving the birds much more protection from ‘bombing’ and the marauding herring gulls, the latter having recently wiped out a nest of chicks.

Pleased to say the coots have started over...


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