May 29, 2017 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette May 25th 2017
Mewsbrook Park is again in the news for the wrong reasons. Several weeks ago, the site suffered from acts of vandalism and worse, some mindless individuals destroyed two coots’ nests. What possible pleasure could one gain from such a cruel act? These youngsters need catching and their parents to be held to account but that takes a proactive police presence and that is unlikely to happen as you do not see any walking coppers in the Littlehampton area these days. A local councillor said that the police commissioner ‘kindly’ agreed to attend meetings to discuss these very problems. Kindly? Katy Bourne is not doing us a favour – it is what we employ her to do! The local people want purpose rather than platitude, results rather than rhetoric and we want bobbies on the beat. We would like to see some action, a regular police presence and a faster response time to calls for their attendance at a crime scene, active or potential.
On the plus side for Mewsbrook wildfowl, David Chace, the owner of the café, has produced and posted attractive signs asking people not to feed the ducks (or swans) white bread and listing the reasons why together with a list of possible alternatives including cut seedless grapes. Some observers have rightly claimed that seedless grapes are not something a wild duck would eat naturally either. Of course they are not but those critics are missing the point. In the wild the duck forages for grain, seeds, slimy water weed, small molluscs and other naturally available food you would not necessarily have in your holiday weekend Sainsbury’s carrier bag. So, both David and the RSPB are merely offering advice on easily obtainable duck-healthy alternatives, one of which is a seedless grape or two. As nice as it may be, Warburton’s crusty white bread is no replacement for a mixed bag of birdseed, a grape, some unfrozen peas or a chopped lettuce.