Chatting with two farmers I learned that, like me, the river had become a magnet for people who wanted to escape the four walls they had been cooped up in for weeks before.
Sadly and most annoyingly, not everyone seemed to have been out to enjoy nature, wildlife or the freedom the outdoors provide. Whilst enjoying themselves they forgot to respect their surroundings and perhaps unwittingly, are disturbing wildlife and other people who simply enjoy what visiting the river has to naturally offer.
The farmers described how people had driven their cars into private fields of livestock, right on to the riverbanks; had picnics; barbeques and swimming where neither are allowed; dogs running free; left litter and smashed bottles into the river and blocked gates with their vehicles. Worst of all, which showed total disrespect, estate staff were threatened and an angler had objects thrown at him, when they tried to inform those people of their wrongdoings. Hardly surprising that wildlife, particularly the Otters and Kingfishers, moved away from those areas.
Avoiding times of likely human activity, I persevered and even visited new locations that I hoped would be somewhat more peaceful. Early one morning, at the spot where I’d seen swans before (see my previous blog); I sat watching a swan family swimming upstream near to the far bank. They left the water in single file and on reaching the top of the bank; they sat and began munching on the grass.