09 February 2008

Down at Uskmouth Country Park

The Royal Society for the Protection of reedBeds' 'Come to Newport Wetlands campaign' is having the desired effect - by ten o'clock this morning the place was swimming in grocks walking their dogs/kids/rolls of flab (delete as appropriate) around the reedbeds whilst gabbing at high volume about the lovely weather or moaning about how long the walk to the car-park/'sea' is.

However, one should always attempt to make the best of a bad situation (this actually happened)...

Water Rails: [Squealing their heads off at the end of Reedbed 9]
Grock: Hello, do you know what that noise is?
Me: Yeah, sure, that's the Dwarf Water-pigs,... they escaped from Whitson Zoo years ago.
Grock: Really?
Me: Yeah, the squealing is two males fighting over a territory boundary.
Grock: Oh.
Me: They can be quite aggressive this time of year, I guess it's all the testosterone.
Grock: Oh right.
Me: Best keep the kids on the path.
Grock: Really?
Me: Well, if they charge they can give a nasty nip.
Grock: Oh, [calls to his missus (a rather rotund woman who was watching two overweight kids lobbing stones over the sea-wall)] Clare,... Clare! Tell the kids to stay on the path. [turning back to me] They should put signs up.
Me: Yeah,... I guess most people know they're here.
Grock: Well we didn't, do you work here?
Me: No, I'm just birding.
Grock: Birding?
Water Rails: [more squeals]
Me: [taking a few steps back from the reedbed] Well bye then.
Grock: Er, yes,... thanks.


Weekend Birder said...

Good God ive heard of them but thought they were just make belive .Let me know the exact location and i will stay clear.Dont fancy a nasty nip of one of them.Do you know if they are related to the ones that charge kids in the forest of dean.

Darryl said...

It's all true and they're everywhere,... run for the hills!

Anonymous said...

i wouldn't run to hills, there some odd creature lurking around around up here to. that why i venture to the wetlands on an autumn, which is when they are obviously at their worst!