Ducks vanishing from Midhurst pond

Pat Woodburn, Mary Newton, Linda Bateson, and Michael Funnell worried about the lack of ducks on Midhurst's South Pond. Picture by Kate Shemilt C130822-1
Pat Woodburn, Mary Newton, Linda Bateson, and Michael Funnell worried about the lack of ducks on Midhurst's South Pond. Picture by Kate Shemilt C130822-1

THERE were once at least 100 ducks on Midhurst’s South Pond – but where have they gone now?

This is the question perplexing nearby residents who have grown concerned at what they said was a dramatic reduction in the numbers of waterfowl on the pond.

Linda Bateson said: “It’s such a shame. A lot of people come down here to see the ducks.

“I know it seems small and petty but so many people like to come down here and feed them.”

Reasons behind the birds’ disappearance range from mysterious people taking them away in nets to pollution on the pond driving them away.

Another resident, Pat Woodburn, said she had walked around the pond and there was a layer of film.

Linda added: “A couple of years ago they were dredging in here and they said it wouldn’t happen again.”

However, Sarah Murison, a member of the South Pond Group said dredging would need to be carried out periodically to maintain the pond.

She added the pond had been previously overcrowded with ducks, however such a drop was a definite concern for the group as well as the wider community.

“A sudden drop like this is a signal of some kind,” she said.

“We’re quite concerned about it. We need to find out what it’s telling us and be aware and find the reason for it.

“We will follow up with the council on the environment issue.”

The residents also commented on the heavy pollution in the pond – something with which Sarah agreed. “I think it’s extremely polluted.

“We’re working with the district council and the South Downs National Park Authority.

“They’ve done some environmental surveys on the whole catchment area of the pond and up the stream and they’re acting on a strategy that will address the silting and pollution.”

She added the carrying capacity of the pond was only for two or three pairs of ducks, yet a few months ago she counted nearly 60 ducks, almost all of which were male.

There were also reports of a boy catching one of the goslings on the pond and taking it away – which was reported to police.

For more information visit http://southpondgroup.wordpress.com