Friday, 21 April 2017

Disappearing Moorhens

Disappearing Moorhens
Work in progress

I have been unable to paint today.  I have been too upset. My heart sank as I watched vegetation removed from the canal by our cottage because I know this is where the moorhens nest each year. It has been a nightmare of a week. I love nature and I adore living here being able to see the young each year on the canal banks. Over time I have learnt that the birds have a very tough time protecting their young from predators such as magpie and heron who seem intent on killing all the young birds as fast as they are hatched. But this is the first year living here that I have witnessed humans create a problem for these nesting birds.

My husband and I watched in dismay recently as a barge delivered repair materials and left piles of items to be used later along the canal bank. Even this delivery was painful to watch as the barge disturbed the vegetation along the bank which houses the moorhens nests each year in Spring. But worse was to follow. I have been enjoying watching one particular moorhen swim back and forth daily adding the best bit of  reeds etc they could find to their nest, building it carefully to lay her eggs. But sadly this spot was exactly where the barge came. I really felt for the bird after all their hard work. But I was surprised and very impressed to see them start all over again building a second nest to replace the first. I contacted the local authorities to let them know that a nest and breeding was taking place exactly where the canal was to be repaired.

I don't know what I expected to be honest. A delay in the work? Time allowed for the birds to hatch their eggs and move on with their young? That was obviously too much to expect because yesterday  a work party arrived and a group of men started repairing the canal bank. I talked to one of the men and pointed out where I had seen nests being built. He looked at the spot and said he could see no evidence of nests. From his viewpoint above I am sure he couldn't. The moorhens make their nests hidden amongst the reeds to protect their young.

And today the whole bank on the usual breeding site has had vegetation removed. I haven't seen a single moorhen all day. But this evening the moorhens are back swimming the length of the cleared canal bank as if they are looking for their home.

I am heartbroken. I know there are far more important  issues in the world than a few moorhens breeding and I am telling myself off for being so stupidly upset about this. But when we first moved into our cottage there was only one pair of moorhens. Now the numbers have grown. But I know, this year there will be no young despite my informing authorities of nests in this area.

How very sad.

And how very thoughtless of the local council to approve this repair work at this time of year.

One very sad artist here hence the appalling painting above but it represent my feelings

"Disappearing moorhens!"

Moorhen chick from last year

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1 comment:

Rebecca Krutsinger said...

Jean, I so feel your pain. And I agree....why couldn't this have been scheduled at a better time? It's sad to me when humans cause such problems for our wildlife. Your kind heart reached out and tried to stop it......you have done what you can. I'm so sorry this has happened to the moorhens. Hopefully they can find somewhere to relocate immediately.