Gallery: Seabirds ganging up to catch park’s fish stocks

Are gulls linking up with cormorants to take fish from Christchurch Park's round pond?

Are gulls linking up with cormorants to take fish from Christchurch Park's round pond?

Gulls and cormorants appear to be working together as teams to catch goldfish from the round pond in Christchurch Park, according to rangers.

But there is little evidence that people have been taking the fish – although there has been some signs of netting being found beside the pond.

Senior ranger Joe Underwood said gulls and cormorants had always taken goldfish from the round pond which is just beside Christchurch Mansion – but they had been more successful recently.

He said: “The number of goldfish in the round pond is down quite significantly because of the number that have been taken by the gulls and cormorants.

“When you see them they appear to be working to bring the fish to the surface and then dive in to catch them. But that is all part of the balance of nature.

“The number of fish may be falling, but that is giving the invertebrates and other pond life more of a chance and may bring the pond more into balance.

“It will be good for damselfly and dragonfly larvae.”

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Mr Underwood said the park’s wildlife continued to evolve – and while there were few real “rarities” to be seen, a number of species continued to thrive there.

This year there have been two colonies of bee wolf wasps establish themselves in the park. Their main prey is the honey bee – but their presence is nevertheless welcomed.

“You only get bee wolf wasps if there is healthy population of bees in the first place, so this is always seen as a good sign,” said Mr Underwood.

Some relatively uncommon birds are doing well in the park – treecreepers appear to be thriving and bullfinches are commonly being seen in the orchard near the play area.

But others appear to be suffering – there is only one nuthatch pair left in the park and it is thought that squirrels could be to blame.

And one new arrival in the area could certainly make its presence felt – a resident of Park Road came home one night to find a hedgehog being attacked by a badger.

Mr Underwood said: “We aren’t aware of any badger setts in Christchurch Park. Badgers have been seen in Holywells Park but this is a first in this part of the town.”

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