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Post Info TOPIC: PENNINGTON FLASH. Issues & Concerns


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RE: PENNINGTON FLASH. Issues & Concerns


Again 3 teenagers fishing in Ramsdales actuallly in the water @ 17.15. can the access path not be blocked?

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Someone fishing on the islands off ramsdales scrape moved all  the birds from ramsdales and scrape area. reported later to a Wigan metro employee



-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Saturday 12th of March 2016 07:07:02 PM

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Good to see them gone,

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David Shallcross


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Travellers have now left great clean up job by wigan council well done back to normal. :)



-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Monday 7th of March 2016 01:24:39 PM

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Car park 3 quarters full of caravans again yhe travellers are back

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As mentioned before - I sent an email to my local councillors and MP about the state of country parks in Wigan. To be fair my Councillor has come up against a bit of a wall, but my MP did forward my letter to Wigan Leisure Culture Trust (or whatever it is called now). The first reply I found a little weak, and so responded back. The second reply was better but still, in my opinion left a few questions unanswered. The guy from WLCT (not Graham Workman - think it was his boss) did say he was happy for me to share his response here, but unfortunately I seem to have binned it with some other mail - if I manage to find it I'll see if Ian can come up with a way to share it. However in essence he said that there were plans to do 'stuff' to improve the state of the parks, however cuts have made it very difficult.

Personally I'd encourage everyone to write to their Councillors and MP's, as the only way to make the the situation better is to get the council to change how much cash they are willing to spend.

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There have been Few issues at Pennington the last few days .3 people 20 - 25 year olds so not kids, building some sort of camp or screen with reeds in ramsdales reed bed today my guess for night fishing also some of the temp no fishing signs ripped down, and in ramsdale hide the wheelchair part was vandalised yesterday and ripped out of the wall. I propped it back up , but no one about to report to my guess the same people building the camp using it for shelter have vandelised it.Be careful if your in that area late at night at the moment. >

-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Sunday 21st of February 2016 03:30:40 PM

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David Shallcross wrote:

Good point John, the hide is mainly close because of the charts and info on the walls that have been vandalised in the past.

I will mention it at PFUG meeting in early February

P.S. I think there is a clause in the contract between the council and the the providers, that it be used for educational purposes only ????? will check it out



-- Edited by David Shallcross on Sunday 31st of January 2016 09:23:56 AM



Cheers Dave It was open for the first 10 years, so not sure what made the change come about, and I know vandals can wreck things ,but as a whole ,it seems a waste to have such a good Hide not being used, as I haven't seen it used why ive been there for a few years now . :)

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Good point John, the hide is mainly close because of the charts and info on the walls that have been vandalised in the past.

I will mention it at PFUG meeting in early February

P.S. I think there is a clause in the contract between the council and the the providers, that it be used for educational purposes only ????? will check it out



-- Edited by David Shallcross on Sunday 31st of January 2016 09:23:56 AM

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David Shallcross


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It would be good if both parts of teal Hide could again be opened every day like it used to be ,It seems a shame to have such a large hide always closed ,to be used just a few times a year by school parties. Yesterday there were plenty looking for the Bittern at the teal Hide ,but unfortunately no seats and there were quite a few older people standing at the back trying to view when next door there's a 18 foot empty hide with plenty seats available.confuse

-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Sunday 31st of January 2016 09:09:22 AM

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Travellers again this pm, though not as many as previously. Half the CP is unusable, plenty of rubbish, wouldn't feel safe parking there if it weren't busy

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A recent donation of bird food and feeders was gratefully received from Paul Brady, this will help with the huge cost of food used throught the year. Thank you Paul and the RSPB 



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David Shallcross


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David Shallcross wrote:

day two done thanks Joan Disley and Eric Munro, they struggled to get near the Bunting hide tables....water over the welly tops.

Ok Bird feeding done at Pennington, now it's Christmas Ho Ho Ho

some of us will be out Christmas morning delivering the birds presents at Pennington, thanks and happy Christmas to everyone who offered their help with this.smile


 



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David Shallcross


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some of us will be out Christmas morning delivering the birds presents at Pennington, thanks and happy Christmas to everyone who offered their help with this.smile



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David Shallcross


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David Shallcross wrote:

A very ingenious device Paul, thanks for highlighting it. And Pennington can always use free bird seed, the bill at the moment is over £100 a month


 I'll see what I can do but cant promise anything ....



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A very ingenious device Paul, thanks for highlighting it. And Pennington can always use free bird seed, the bill at the moment is over £100 a month



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David Shallcross


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At Burton Mere we used these http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/birds-wildlife/bird-feeders/squirrel-buster-mini-seed-feeder.html

There are well built and lasted for a number of years, the squirrels tried but could not get large amounts of seed out, combined with a baffle and a location out of jumping reach it worked very well at reducing the amount of squirrels at the feeding station AND the amount of food they were getting from them.

I may be able to get you them at a reduced price too and maybe even some free bird seed .......



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Interesting discussion! I can quite see that culling has huge practical problems - and I sympathise with Ian's point of view that we were the ones who created the problem.


Replacing the cages over the tables has to be the simplest option. As far as photography is concerned it's far more rewarding to grab opportunities to photograph birds when they alight on branches and tree trunks on the way to and from the tables, looking much more natural.


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Paul


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A great contribution to this topic by all, thanks.

I'm sure a humane principle to the problem is what we all want, and I will put the idea of specialist type feeders and baffles to the next PFUG meeting.

Although i suspect it will be turned down on the  "funding problem" line.  But the problem may disappear on its own, as the provision of food by the council could be withdrawn at some point, leaving only the L.O.S. contribution, which will cover about a month.

i'm sure other contribution would be well received.



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David Shallcross


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Ideally, I'd like to see the squirrels dispatched. However, there are just too many problems with this:

- PF as a whole probably hosts hundreds, and removing say 20 from the feeding area would just create a vacuum for the others to fill. Removing them from the whole site is just not practical. The other site I mentioned is fairly isolated & gated, so a culling programme on the day it's closed can be effective

- the law is strict about capturing squirrels. Once captured, they must be dispatched soon, and ONLY by a blow to the head or by shooting in the trap, or done by a vet. Drowning them is illegal. Re-releasing them is illegal (as pointed out earlier)

- shooting them is plausible, but gun laws & public places do not mix well, even if you have the appropriate licences. There's always a chance the police & therefore an ARU team might get interested (as an aside, a certain Yorkshire ringer I know reported some guys to the police - they were shooting Canada's, and didn't expect a helicopter ARU to intervene. Extra laundry needed, I suspect)

- kiddies love them, but could see them elsewhere. Ok, but if the press got wind of a culling programme ...

- poisoning doesn't seem to be practical any more, and handling poisons & dealing with poisoned animals is not easy. And what about scavengers such as foxes ...

More info here:
http://www.rsne.org.uk/squirrels-and-law
http://basc.org.uk/game-and-gamekeeping/advice-and-fact-sheets/basc-grey-squirrel-control

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sid ashton wrote:
Ian McKerchar wrote:

............With a little effort and some ingenuity surely more squirrel proof solutions for mitigating a loss of seed could be found rather than attempting to eradicate the 'problem'; a 'problem' which will certainly continue regardless as other squirrels move in to take over the vacant territories anyway. Shouldn't we at least try a longer term alternative first?...........


 With a little bit of ingenuity I am sure that an RSPB tilting squirrel baffle could be adapted to fit on the poles that hold the bird tables, thus hopefully preventing the squirrels actually getting to the food from below.


I totally agree Sid, we have a squirrel baffle on our feeders at work, it's a perspex round one that doubles as a seed tray above. Despite having loads of incredibly persistent Squirrels not a single one has ever got up the pole to the feeders due to this baffle smile This sort can fit on most poles without much difficulty, we recently transferred it from our old feeder to our new one & the set up is of a different make, the common thing is they are both single poles with hooks at the top which the feeders hang off. A bit of gaffer tape andthe fitting was adapted so that the baffle still fits and works smile



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Ian McKerchar wrote:

............With a little effort and some ingenuity surely more squirrel proof solutions for mitigating a loss of seed could be found rather than attempting to eradicate the 'problem'; a 'problem' which will certainly continue regardless as other squirrels move in to take over the vacant territories anyway. Shouldn't we at least try a longer term alternative first?...........


 With a little bit of ingenuity I am sure that an RSPB tilting squirrel baffle could be adapted to fit on the poles that hold the bird tables, thus hopefully preventing the squirrels actually getting to the food from below.



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I'm with Ian on this one.
Controlling vermin through lethal methods isn't always effective.
The eradication of rats on St Agnes and Gugh (Scilly) has worked because they've been able to kill EVERY rat.
A neighbour once illegally trapped squirrels who kept eating his bird food and trashing the small feeding station in his garden.
Even worse he illegally released them.
However, within days his feeders had been destroyed again
Shooting the squirrels around the feeders won't work because other squirrels will move into the vacant territory.
In my humble opinion, squirrel-proofing the feeders is the only way to prevent food going to the wrong recipients.

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Don't worry Dave, my post wasn't in reply to yours, I know your well intended and necessary reasons for posting and fully endorse them; I also welcome any subsequent discussion too. Indeed my own was partially intended just to give some balance to it.

It's a discussion I hear plenty of, either directly or indirectly and it's been around a while.

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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I'm certainly happy with squirrel proofing the tables with the cages etc, as they once were.

Anyone who objects to that for Photography's sake, needs to get their hand in their pocket and fund some food, for anything that wants to eat at the table.

please send a donation to either the LOS or the Council.

Regarding culling it's not a policy that the LOS would have any control over, or i suspect would want to be involved in.

I merely provoke answers to some questions i get asked.



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David Shallcross


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As I recall, in conversation with a previous Head Ranger at the flash a few years ago, just going out and shooting anything there isn't as easy as that. As its a county park owned by Wigan Council there is a certain amount of red tape to go through, Health and Safety, licensing etc in order to shoot anything (it was rats they were culling last time).

I can't help feeling a little sad about the whole affair though.

It is a country park and therefore there for all wildlife and I wonder how many families with small children get more enjoyment from the squirrels than they do the birds? If we're trying to encourage a younger generation to enjoy and more importantly, to care, for wildlife and of course sites like Pennington Flash, is killing such (for many) enjoyable creatures like squirrels really helping that? That we would be killing them because they interfere with our own 'hobbies' or enjoyment seems perhaps a little selfish to me (and there is no current evidence that squirrels are affecting the breeding bird population at the flash either). That some may want the squirrels killed because the need for cages over the tables which are required to keep them off the seed interferes with their photography is ridiculous though. Is this what we've become? Grey Squirrels may very well be deemed a pest by many but so are Barnacle Geese in parts of Scotland, Ring-necked Parakeets in south-west England and Cormorants in many locations (not to mention the current hot topic of Buzzards), all of which are 'controlled' by killing them and all of which have caused an outcry from birders at one time or another. Yet we seem happy to kill Squirrels at a country park designed for all wildlife because they are taking advantage of an easy meal provided by humans but not intended for them?

With a little effort and some ingenuity surely more squirrel proof solutions for mitigating a loss of seed could be found rather than attempting to eradicate the 'problem'; a 'problem' which will certainly continue regardless as other squirrels move in to take over the vacant territories anyway. Shouldn't we at least try a longer term alternative first?

Shame that we humans cause the problems in the first place (by introducing species or by providing opportunities for opportunistic wildlife) and then all too quickly see killing them as the only solution when they do well.

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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David. I am quite happy to volunteer as " the shooter" to lessen the squirrel problem. I have an extremely accurate and very quiet air rifle. The hide would need to be shut for the day to ensure the public are not upset by the culling. Send me a pm if you want to discus further. The LA may insist on public liability insurance. In this case someone will need to pay for a pest control person who does it for a living.



-- Edited by Ivan Ellison on Thursday 3rd of December 2015 02:44:46 PM

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yes Karl...... Jeff the ranger does the feeding every day every morning..... LOS will do it when staff are on Holiday over Christmas.

I think until approval, and of a safe, humane method, the cages should go back on the tables

Grumbles from Photographers but when alls said, it's not about people, it's about birds.

Watching and Photography are spin offs, great though they are.

 



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David Shallcross


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Not sure what's the best course of action but something needs to be done for the last 2 days there's not been any food whatsoever at approx 12.30 apart from peanuts in the feeders (that's assuming that they're being replenished at weekends)

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I'd say you need both Dave. It might not be popular, but someone shooting could also deal with the rats that are often around too, and its definitely more humane than Dave's neighbour drowning them in a barrel!! A proper marksman with an air rifle could be an effective, quiet and humane way of reducing the problem.

-- Edited by Craig Higson on Sunday 29th of November 2015 03:46:23 PM

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Grey Squirrels are a big problem at Pennington and some form of control is required, it's a problem created by us feeding birds I know and It's time to act so ..what does everyone feel should be the best way to do this. 

 

should the cages go back on the bird tables ?  

Or should a shooter be employed 

I think i would prefer that method rather than the trap



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David Shallcross


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Any grey squirrel trapped cannot be released back into the wild, because it is not an indigenous specie to Britain.
Therefore any trapped have to be killed, either by the trap or by another humane method


www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/7833054/How-to-trap-a-squirrel.html


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John Watson wrote:

re squirrels, another local nature reserve used to hire a shooter to remove them a couple of times each year, eg early spring. The squirrels kept coming back (not the same individuals, that would have been a little spooky), but the management process kept on top of them. They didn't publicise or blog what they did, obviously, though I think the public heard about it somehow.

An alternative is to catch & either dispatch (rules about this) or relocate - there are special long traps for this. As with rats, they don't like being caught & have incredibly sharp teeth. And no, I haven't dealt with them before anyone asks.





I think its illegal to release squirrels elsewhere if you trap then,killing them is the only option.My neighbour traps them and drowns them in his water butt,that way you don't get bitten.One of my other neighbours shoots them with his air rifle,and next doors cat kills them on a regular basis(as well as anything else than movesfurious).However in spite of this mass carnage we still get regular visits by them eating all the sunflower seeds intended for the birds,kill one and another one takes its place !!In Scotland you have to report any sightings of Grey Squirrels which are promptly dispatched to protect the Red Squirrel population.

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re squirrels, another local nature reserve used to hire a shooter to remove them a couple of times each year, eg early spring. The squirrels kept coming back (not the same individuals, that would have been a little spooky), but the management process kept on top of them. They didn't publicise or blog what they did, obviously, though I think the public heard about it somehow.

An alternative is to catch & either dispatch (rules about this) or relocate - there are special long traps for this. As with rats, they don't like being caught & have incredibly sharp teeth. And no, I haven't dealt with them before anyone asks.

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Not entirely Pennington related, but thought I'd mention it anyway...I wrote to two of my local Councillors and my MP last week following an unsavoury incident that happened at Three Sisters. I have complained about the lack of supervision at Three Sisters, Pennington and Orrell Water Park, along with the general lack of maintenance and care that these sites have received since the (in my opinion) ridiculous decision to axe the countryside service in Wigan. I have mentioned this thread in my email along with some other 'stuff' about popularity etc etc. So far I have been contacted by one of my Councillors, who was very concerned by my email, and also by my MP. Much more promising than when I emailed the relevant Leigh MP's last year, none of whom bothered to reply. I have stated in my email that this is not the fault of those trying to work under difficult circumstances, more the councils whole approach to its countryside sites. We'll see where it goes.

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Bunting Hide Feeding Station..... a rota has been set up for stocking the tables during Christmas bank holiday, when staff will be on holiday.

Please bear in mind that doesn't mean the hides will be open

I have of course obtained permission from the Council.  



-- Edited by David Shallcross on Thursday 19th of November 2015 03:47:20 PM

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David Shallcross


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Great teamwork John and David for highlighting and acting on the issue. Great to see it taken in good part by the Fire Service too - excellent letter! Good also to see the notices about not fishing in the nature reserve are still surviving - at least until windy stormy Barney went through!


Bunting Hide makes a great case for Grey Squirrel contraception at the moment - no less than FOURTEEN squirrels were squatting on and around the feeders at 10.30 this morning. Small almost seem to be doing better at the mini-feeding station at Pengy's!

-- Edited by Paul Richardson on Tuesday 17th of November 2015 09:34:58 PM

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Paul


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good job you reported it, otherwise these things carry on happening. Cheers John



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David Shallcross


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David Shallcross wrote:
Leigh Ornithological Society (formed 1971)   

 

Hi all regarding the Fire Service incident at Pennington over the weekend, when rescue boats strayed into the reserve part of the water.

 

i emailed the station manager highlighting the disturbance caused. He was quick to reply and we have since had a discussion by telephone, to work out a protocol for future training so they don't coincide with either sailing regattas and most importantly monthly WeBS counting.

 

I will provided a contacts list for them, so hopefully it won't happen again.  Below is the Station Managers explanation (for security reasons i have removed his contact details)

 

Dear Mr Shallcross,

 

I have spoken to the crews involved in the training exercise on Pennington flash over the weekend, and they informed me that they had inadvertently strayed into the green marker buoys due to lack of knowledge of what this demarcation meant, upon this a safety vessel from the sailing club raced to the boat crew and informed them that they were in the nature reserve section of the flash, upon hearing these instructions they manoeuvred out of the area, also to my knowledge no crews purposely strayed into any environmentally delicate areas.

 

I can only apologise at any upset caused, and inform you that our crews would not intentionally cause distress to wildlife as this goes against what Firefighters and our Service represents.

 

The organiser of the training had tried numerous departments within Wigan Borough Council to ask for permission to use the flash, but he had no luck, if you have such contact details and would be kind enough to share these with me so we can ensure that this does not happen again I would be very appreciative.

 

The training coincidentally was to further enhance the skill sets of our boat crews for National and International deployments into flood stricken areas to render humanitarian services to people and animals in distress, I can assure you our crews are highly professional and sensitive to environmental issues.

 

If you are still unhappy with my response please do not hesitate to contact me and we can discuss this further.

 

Once again my apologies on behalf of Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service.

 

Kind regards        Station Manager

 
 
David Shallcross
Chairman, 

  Excellent response,thanks David for taking the time to sort it out,and looking at the response it could have been avoided if Wigan Metro had taken the time to give them advice on where they could go for the least disturbance on the flash.We all need these people, who do a great service in dangerous conditions,I wouldnt have liked to have been on the flash this weekend in that rain and gales. I only mentioned the disturbance as I knew that in future it would make a difference.

Thanks again

 

John


-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Tuesday 17th of November 2015 07:06:34 PM

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Leigh Ornithological Society (formed 1971)   

 

Hi all regarding the Fire Service incident at Pennington over the weekend, when rescue boats strayed into the reserve part of the water.

 

i emailed the station manager highlighting the disturbance caused. He was quick to reply and we have since had a discussion by telephone, to work out a protocol for future training so they don't coincide with either sailing regattas and most importantly monthly WeBS counting.

 

I will provided a contacts list for them, so hopefully it won't happen again.  Below is the Station Managers explanation (for security reasons i have removed his contact details)

 

Dear Mr Shallcross,

 

I have spoken to the crews involved in the training exercise on Pennington flash over the weekend, and they informed me that they had inadvertently strayed into the green marker buoys due to lack of knowledge of what this demarcation meant, upon this a safety vessel from the sailing club raced to the boat crew and informed them that they were in the nature reserve section of the flash, upon hearing these instructions they manoeuvred out of the area, also to my knowledge no crews purposely strayed into any environmentally delicate areas.

 

I can only apologise at any upset caused, and inform you that our crews would not intentionally cause distress to wildlife as this goes against what Firefighters and our Service represents.

 

The organiser of the training had tried numerous departments within Wigan Borough Council to ask for permission to use the flash, but he had no luck, if you have such contact details and would be kind enough to share these with me so we can ensure that this does not happen again I would be very appreciative.

 

The training coincidentally was to further enhance the skill sets of our boat crews for National and International deployments into flood stricken areas to render humanitarian services to people and animals in distress, I can assure you our crews are highly professional and sensitive to environmental issues.

 

If you are still unhappy with my response please do not hesitate to contact me and we can discuss this further.

 

Once again my apologies on behalf of Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service.

 

Kind regards        Station Manager

 
 
David Shallcross
Chairman, 


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David Shallcross


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i have been in touch with the Fire Service who have responded very promptly, apologising for the infringement, i will post the response here if i get permission to do so. (in my opinion all correspondence to me  is private)



-- Edited by David Shallcross on Tuesday 17th of November 2015 10:38:08 AM

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David Shallcross


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David Shallcross wrote:
Hi John i'll pass this on   (with your permission) and go tomorrow to see Geoff... as he does the feeding (What's UP)
jOHN TYMON wrote:

 

Once again today the birds were having to put up with massive disturbance as the fire service again were doing training and with the normal yachts on the main flash putting all the duck up ,all they then needed was the firemen to choose the end of the spit and top of ramsdales to do thier manouvers leaving for the second day the massive flocks of duck flying around aimlessly. I recon at least 200 Tufted left the sight altogether,there seems to be little thought for wildlife disturbance at the flash these days.
Also for the second day in a row, No food was on any of the bird tables at the feeding station and bunting hide,just the hanging nuts,so masses of birds were scratching around for bits on the ground,although it was 11.00 when I got there neither Saturday or Sunday looked like they had been fed.


 


Yes no probs but Geoff can't be there 7 days a weeks,hes probably been off this weekend

I think like last year it just needs some coordination, but whoever opens the hide up could do it, if they are doing it in Geoffs absence they need to make sure they are putting enough food out, as the birds become reliant on the feeding station the rule as always is feed every day or not at all.

 



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