This post reveals two things. That Birmingham City Council do not care about wildlife in its parks, which I knew already, and that angling in this area is uncontrolled and results in the death of wildlife, which I also know from several years of past experience.
I have previously detailed my issues with this authority and its incompetence, negligence and lack of interest or caring in the deaths of wildfowl from “botulism” and also lead poisoning at a park in Erdington. This is not a very prosperous area of the city to put it mildly, so you would perhaps expect the senior management who live in far more pleasant surroundings to not give a shit. But on their literal own doorstep of the Mecca- Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield- (now going by the truly preposterous “Royal Sutton Coldfield”)- well you might think that they would. I can however report also from past experience and a very recent issue that there is nothing any different about this so called “national nature reserve.”
This place has a long history, and there are seven pools in total , some of which can be fished, and some which cannot.
One of the main problems that I have seen at this site are the absolute scum of the earth carp anglers, or “The three day eventers” as I also refer to them as. Day 1 consists of turning up in their tent and consuming as much alcohol and illegal drugs as possible. Day 2, sleeping this off alongside 2 or 3 other sweaty blokes in very close proximity. Day 3, defecating in the bushes and leaving behind a pile of rubbish, destruction and fishing related litter. The matter is particularly bad on Blackroot pool and Powell’s Pool. You will find them there.
Yet if you go on Birmingham City Council’s official website, here is what they claim are the rules about fishing in Birmingham’s parks. There are also it is claimed, byelaws.
It is interesting to note that there is no specific mention of taking certain measures in order to reduce risks to wildfowl from this activity.
Further info about fishing in Sutton Park comes from the Sutton Coldfield Natural History Society.
It’s quite apparent from observation that these bye-laws are not being enforced or adhered to at this site.
I have rescued and heard of many fishing related issues at Sutton Park involving tangled birds over several years. But one in the last week has really angered both myself and Baz from Scared animal wildlife rescue.
Unfortunately, we only heard about the issue after several hours where the following facebook post was made on a group which I am not a part of.
Unfortunately, this is one of the big problems that I have with social media in that it produces a usual glut of people wanting to help by posting various numbers and contact details of organisations, none of which are based anywhere near to the area in question. The person requesting advice or help is then bombarded by different numbers, and yet there is no indication of which one they may have rang, or any at all. There is also no indication for those different rescue organisations who may be tagged into the post, if other organisations have said that they have or been notified and are going out. “Help” unfortunately, is very often no help at all.
And so it was that Baz and myself from SAWR went to find this swan in the fading light. When we got there, this is what we found, along with two adult swans , (the male of which had a hook from his mouth with line), and one cygnet.
This cygnet had drowned, with its neck and feet tied together with line. A truly shocking indictment of fishing in Birmingham.
There was one guy fishing from a bivvy (tent) on this pool= therefore in breach of the byelaws stated above, and another set of gear that looked like someone had just arrived, or had packed up. We got the usual drivel about bad anglers, and he claimed that he hadn’t seen the swans . To be fair they were in the corner, and it may not have been him that originally hooked the swan, or left the crap behind, but who knows, not BCC that’s for bloody sure.
From the posts off the facebook one, it appears that their rangers had been contacted, and then perhaps they had contacted the RSPCA. But it wasn’t clear if any of them had actually got off their arse and tried to help the bird when it was still saveable as pictured.
The circumstances in the FB picture appear to show two cygnets, but we cannot see the one behind clearly. We assume that the drowned one was the one reported with the line and plastic sweetcorn piece visible, yet on inspection, this piece was not present on the bird. Instead it appears that this piece was in the mouth of the adult male swan instead.
We can only speculate that this was the same piece of line, and it had somehow ended up in the cob’s mouth, but that the cygnet had also been caught up in more line. Or is it the case that the male swan had been hooked AFTER the picture had been taken and the report made, with an identical rig? It seems extraordinary that two swans would have been hooked on the same day- but who knows when there is no enforcement of byelaws on such a pool?
To make matters worse, it appears that the caller was contacted by the RSPCA 20 hours later, long after we had retrieved the body. I mean, that really is just crap.
We caught and removed the hook off the male, which can be compared with the one pictured in the FB post.
This is of course is just one of many angling related incidents that we have dealt with of late in the West Midlands, and comes in the same week that at Sandwell Valley, the prompt action of one responsible angler, who actually called the rangers, and the business manager who promptly alerted myself to a very badly tangled swan, resulted in us being able to remove the line quickly without injury. If it had been left there, the outcome would probably have been the same. Somewhere then, the protocol at Birmingham City council is just not good enough, but this is exactly the same as with the botulism issues at Brookvale Park.
Is it the case that they just believe that “There is nothing meaningful to be done” , or at least nothing meaningful for them to do in helping wildfowl from being killed, from bye-laws that they do not enforce?