Parks Trust experts deny scaring away nesting swan with over-zealous tree and bush clearing at Milton Keynes lake

'Our maintenance work is always carried out sensitively' they say
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Parks Trust experts deny scaring away a nesting swan with over-zealous tree and bush clearing at a popular Milton Keynes beauty spot.

Members of the public claim a breeding swan has been frightened away from her nest due to 'devastating' clearing of the trees and bushes around it at Caldecotte Lake in MK.

One walker has challenged The Parks Trust and asked why they had "total disregard" for the swan, which was along the north side of lake.

The swan pictured happily nesting before the pruning works took placeThe swan pictured happily nesting before the pruning works took place
The swan pictured happily nesting before the pruning works took place

As soon as the vegetation was cut back last week, the nest was abandoned and the swan has not been seen since.

But the Trust denies it was to blame and says the work was carried out sensitively and in accordance with strict regulations to protect wildlife.

The walker said: "For the past couple of weeks I have been watching and photographing a swan making a nest near the rocks by the railings. I have also been admiring the trees which had recently come into blossom alongside the lake's edge.

"On the morning of the 9th March, the female swan was still busy on her nest and the blossom trees were still standing. On the 10th March, trees had gone, the bushes gone and the ground churned up with tyre tracks... I could not believe the devastation that occurred in one day."

Before the pruning took placeBefore the pruning took place
Before the pruning took place

She added: "I quickly rushed to the site of the swan nest and was upset to see it abandoned. I've checked every day since, and she's not returned.

"I fully understand the Parks Trust prunes trees. However, I am utterly bewildered at the blossom trees being cut down to ground level and the ground devastation near to the swan's nest."

The walker said the trees harboured insects and many small birds as well as providing for the birds at the water's edge.

"I would be really interested to know exactly why the Parks Trust saw fit to destroy this wonderful and beautiful habitat for nature and also had total disregard for a nesting swan which I thought were a protected species? I met fellow walkers this morning who were equally incensed at the devastation."

After the pruning worksAfter the pruning works
After the pruning works

A spokesperson from The Parks Trust told the Citizen: “We do not believe that The Parks Trust was responsible for the disturbance of a nesting swan.

"Last week, our team carried out some work to remove vegetation from the dam structure at Caldecotte Lake, as instructed by Anglian Water. This work focused on the grass embankment but left vegetation at the lake edge, where swans are known to nest, intact.

"There was, as is often the case, some minor damage to the grass caused by tractor tyres but this is superficial and usually recovers very quickly."

The spokesman added: “Our maintenance work is always carried out sensitively, and in line with strict conditions and associated codes of practice which are mindful of important factors such as nesting season. Upon seeing an active nest, our site teams will work around an area in order not to disturb it.

The abandoned nestThe abandoned nest
The abandoned nest

“We are keen to ensure that swans can nest and breed successfully so we will continue to keep a close eye on this matter and we thank the walker for drawing it to our attention.

"For the past 30 years, our charity has been caring for the city’s parks, woodlands and lakes, and input from caring local residents really helps us as we continue delivering that work.”