March 28, 2016 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littelhampton Gazette 17th March 2016
Littlehampton was awash with sunshine last weekend with a crowded prom, river walk and summer weekend chippy lines on Pier Road. There was a sure enough feeling that spring is on its way, that sunshine coupled with some superb local social media shots of new born lambs and calves convinced me that a little trip out of town would not go amiss. With a good friend beside me, I headed out to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks for a ‘birding’ walk. Beautiful views but a curious lack of birdlife – the latter made up for by the Centre’s excellent macaroni cheese. Strange really, drive to Pulborough and see very little, wander locally along the bank of the Arun and the sky seems filled with buzzards, red kites, kestrels, peregrines, sparrow hawks and, on the ground, boxing brown hares, tawny deer and a fox. We are so lucky to have such a diversity of fauna right in our own backyard and it is so important that we protect it. Hare coursing and uncontrolled dogs are a couple of things to look out for when out and about and, if observed, do not hesitate to get on your mobile to the police. Be vigilant, enjoy and protect. .
On the subject of animal welfare, sad as it may seem, folk who feed swans and gulls on a diet of bread are doing our feathered friends a great disservice. Swans should eat greens and gulls seafood – anything else is very detrimental to their wellbeing. Swans sometimes have great difficulty with soggy white bread which takes some time to travel their long necks down into the gut. As for gulls, tempting them to eat from your hand on the prom can be fun and amusing but it also encourages them to swoop down on unsuspecting folk and thereby enhancing their dodgy reputations and the noisy call for a cull. Think about these things, please.