Basin Notes - November 2000

Man and Nature

Several people have asked how the cygnets from Borrowfield pond and the Curlie are doing since their relocation onto the basin in September.

You will be pleased to know they are all doing well. I would like to thank everyone who helped in both operations, especially the young people of Glenogle Sweet, the Police and Jake Leven, who donated his roast beef roll to the cause - after eating the roast beef, of course!

The first goose count of the season took place on Sunday morning. It established that there were just under 30,000 pink- footed and 46 barnacle geese. The 'pinkfeet' come from Greenland and Iceland and the Barnacle from Svalbard, which lies to the north of Norway.

These eastern Barnacles normally winter on the west coast around the Solway Firth, with a quite separate population from Greenland wintering on the island of Islay. Which is how it is supposed to be in the great scheme of things.

But it doesn't always work out like that. Animals, fish, birds and ourselves don't always get it right or, for that matter, conform to the master plan. Usually it can be linked to the weather which affects us all in some way.

I started to think about the events of the past few weeks which had links to the basin, the weather and the Montrose area.

Some were quite bizarre and a little ironic. The catalyst for such thoughts was the visit to the centre from a couple who have lived in Montrose all their lives yet never visited the basin before. They said the place was wonderful and vowed to return. They are not from Montrose, Angus but Montrose, Colorado!

The irony is that they, like the geese, had flown a long way to delight in what the basin has to offer, while the swans who could have walked, needed a helping hand. Need I say more?

Two shy residents who did put in welcome appearances recently were an otter (seen in broad daylight directly in front of the centre by two visitors) and a fox seen heading home after a night's foraging on Sunday morning.

Now there's a local who knows the basin better than anyone. Sunday morning was a right "tattie morning" with a nip in the air. Local kids still get the tattie holidays but go to Spain instead, missing out on so much that is happening on their own doorsteps.

It does worry me to think how little we seem to appreciate the world around us these days.This is not romantic sentiment but a concern for my life support system.

Working with some groups of visitors who only seem to see chickens and seagulls can get very depressing especially when I know that the gulls are not even seagulls anymore - most fly inland to the nearest rubbish tip where food is becoming more plentiful than in the sea.

We seem to to be afraid to get close to nature. This was the case with a group visiting the centre recently who were not allowed to touch the mud - not even with gloves on. If we are afraid to investigate our environment how can we understand it?

Will children believe someday that food begins life in a supermarket or even, that life itself begins in a supermarket!