Thursday, 7 August 2008

Goose doo-doos galore

I have just spent a week walking from Lenton to other parts of Nottingham in the company of friends from Greenwich. We walked to the Riverside Festival and West Bridgford, Highfields and Beeston, Wollaton Park (twice), Martin's Pond and in search of a lost canal (more about this in a future blog). The one thing all these walks had in common were lots of goose doo-doos! I never realised before just how bad the problem has become.

The goslings in Highfields Park had my youngest grand-daughter enveloped in raptures of delight, but if you have ever tried to walk across the grass from the D H Lawrence Pavilion towards the Trent Building and encountered a sea of goose doo-doos you would have a different opinion of Canada Geese!

Last Saturday I took my friends on a walk from Lenton to the Riverside Festival on the Victoria Embankment and after we reached Wilford Toll Bridge I thought it would be nice to walk beside the River Trent until we arrived at the Festival. This was a big mistake! After spending several minutes walking across the grass and avoiding as much of the goose doo-doos as we could we reached the footpath to find it was just as bad. In the end, we decided to make our way back to the road. I cannot remember having this problem on previous walks along the Embankment. Everywhere you looked there were Canada Geese and a few interlopers.

On Sunday I took my friends on a mega-circular walk from Lenton to Wollaton Park, Martin's Pond etc and back to the Jubilee Campus to see if the new water feature was finished and what did we encounter when we got there? Those pesky geese again and their doo-doos and…


a young man who had been given the never ending job of trying to sweep goose doo-doos off the path beside the kilometer long water feature. The trouble with this approach to the problem is that the dollops of goose doo-doo get smeared across the path, which makes it harder to avoid when walking. I said in my blog on 22 June 2008 about the new Aspire column on the Jubilee Campus that 'I await the completion of the watery boulevard with its Japonica trees even more'. I didn't think that when I returned seven weeks later that the 'watery boulevard' would have become one long goose toilet! I suspect that when the column and the water feature were in the early stages, Nottingham University and its partners undertook a 'SWOT' exercise (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). I wonder if Canada Geese were discussed? Hindsight is a wonderful thing and it may be that the second lake on the campus with its grass edges at one end of the watery boulevard has contributed to the problem.

Talking to Parbinder from Nottingham City Council's Area 8 Committee, he told me that the council is already trying to tackle the problem caused by a rapidly increasing geese population and that the geese already have a group of people ready to defend their right to be in our parks and elsewhere. I can guess what the arguments are in support of the geese: they are a problem of our own making, we feed them and provide them with an environment in which they can thrive and that they should not be selectively killed (culled) as a way of trying to manage the problem. It may be that the grass they eat can be sprayed with a contraceptive solution that would make the geese sterile, but only if it did not endanger other animals or birds. I wish Parbinder and his colleagues well and look forward to hearing their proposed solution to the geese problem. They are, as they say, 'between a rock and a hard place'.

Until the last few days I was an advocate of restoring the paddling pool in Highfields Park, but not any more — it would soon become another goose toilet and grazing area.

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