OUT IN THE FIELD: Time to stop feeding the birds?

Swans in Hampden Park. Photograph by Sue Lockhart
Swans in Hampden Park. Photograph by Sue Lockhart

It’s many years now since the Little Treasures were small and wanted to go and feed the ducks in Hampden Park and Princes Park but it was a favourite pastime of ours, collecting all the old bread and throwing it to them. That tradition continues for many families but now it appears the seemingly innocent pastime could not just be bad for the birds’ health but can damage entire ecosystems. Take the current state of Decoy Pond in Hampden Park. Only a few years ago £150,000 was spent on dredging the pond but now it appears birds there are becoming poorly and some say that a bread-rich diet is causing wildfowl to become ill and, in some cases, deformed. Conservationists also warn that undigested bread sinking and rotting can create wider havoc, encouraging bacteria, mould and algae and attracting rats. Could it be time to stop throwing bread to the ducks? Perhaps community groups could instal machines dispensing proper bird food in the town’s parks in a bid to solve the pond problems.

There’s no place like home said a Kansas girl with a pair of red shiny shoes once upon a time, and it’s so true. As lovely as it was soaking up the Salou sunshine during the annual family holiday in Spain, it’s great to be back in Eastbourne – and in residence at Beckett Towers – despite the appalling weather and torrential rain that has battered the town over the last week. Two things particularly pleased me landing back in the sun trap of the south: police and council staff have joined forces and opened a new satellite office on the seafront, which will hopefully deter the street drinkers staggering and squawking along the prom frightening all and sundry; and secondly Bibendum, in Grange Road, has had a much-needed refurbishment with a new kitchen and interior facelift in the bar and restaurant. The hostelry has been taken over by the lovely Mike Watkin from the Loft Lounge and his good lady Heidi and it has now reopened to customers old and new,