Dinosaur gathering a threat to local swan nest, say wildlife enthusiasts

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Bexley residents are worried about how a funfair in a park will affect a swans’ nest less than 20 metres from the event.

Dinosaurs in the Park is an event taking place at Danson Park and was booked to start on Saturday, May 18.

Bexley council was asked to consider switching the event to another location after a swan nest appeared next to the site in recent weeks, but it has gone ahead and is not due to end until June 9.

Chris Smith, speaking on behalf of the Greenwich Wildlife Network, said that the park is known for its wildlife, including a variety of birds such as herons and great crested grebes, as well as butterflies and dragonflies.

He said he sent several emails to the council last month when he noticed a swan nest had appeared on the bank of the park’s lake for protective fencing to be erected to keep the animals safe from dogs and people.

The event features a set of life-sized, moving animatronic dinosaurs with accompanying speakers playing roaring sounds, as well as a crazy golf course.

The swan nest is approximately 18 metres away from the nearest fence line of the event, according to Bexley council.

Mr Smith said he feared the noise and footfall from the event would interfere with the swans, and stated it is an offence to disturb wild birds building a nest containing eggs or young under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The two swans currently nesting in Danson Park, as seen earlier this year on the lake (Picture: Nicky Wilson)

Nicky Wilson, a resident and member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Bexley committee, said: “The frustrating thing about it is it seems to me that they didn’t seem to consult with anyone about it.

“They’ve just gone ahead and done it and there didn’t need to be any of this. If they had just asked, we could have had it all sorted before they started putting the stuff up.”

Bexley council said in a statement on May 14 that the authority and event organisers were taking all reasonable steps to protect the nesting swans, which had nested along one of the busiest pathways in the park.

A council spokesman said that the authority has been holding daily meetings with the event organisers to change the site layout to minimise disruption to the nest and allow the event to operate within its parameters.

A Dinosaurs in the Park spokesman said that the layout of the event site had been altered following consultation with the council and park management.

The swan nest is just off the lake in Danson Park (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

They said: “We are aware of the community’s concerns regarding the potential impact on local bird populations, particularly in relation to a swan nesting site. We wish to assure the public that the preservation of wildlife and their natural habitats is a priority for our organisation.”

A Bexley council spokesman said the authority would continue to monitor the situation throughout the event and make any adjustments if required.

Pictured top: Nicky Wilson, who said she was not against the event but feared it may disturb the nesting swans (Picture: Joe Coughlan)






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