Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 29th May 2017:-

Still no sign of any elvers in the brook. After a period of very low flow, the recent rain has the brook flowing well. Flowering there are Hemlock Water-dropwort, Watercress and Yellow-flag Iris. This year there is a co-ordinated study of goose breeding in the Wandle valley. Very few geese seem to hatch young in the park. Back in April one pair of Egyptian Geese had a single small gosling, not sighted since. This species seems to have had a poor year. On 12th May there was a brood of four small Greylag goslings and this morning there were two broods of older goslings. These numbered three and one respectively, suggesting one of the earlier four had been lost and a further brood was missed earlier. There was also a brood of two small goslings, certainly hatched since the 15th. So, Greylags are breeding, if not very successfully. In contrast, no Canada goslings have been seen. Very likely this is because the Golf Club are preventing any of this species’ eggs from hatching. There’s a handy guide to the protection and exceptions allowed under licence published by the RSPB: www.rspb.org.uk/Images/WBATL_tcm9-132998.pdf. Canada Geese can be killed for health and safety reasons, but not the other two species. It’s not legal to control because of damage to amenity. Canada and Egyptian Geese can be killed for two other reasons:

  • To control disease, but there’s no evidence that either species spreads disease any more than do Mute Swans, Greylags and other waterfowl.
  • To conserve plants or wildlife. Neither species is threatening plants or wildlife at the lake. Species that might are Mute Swans and Coots, the swan is fully protected, but the Coot is included amongst a long list of wildfowl that can be shot as game in the open season.