Mystery over death of ducks

The tiered ponds which are part of Linear Park Lake in Royal Quays, North Shields.
The tiered ponds which are part of Linear Park Lake in Royal Quays, North Shields.

Mystery surrounds a spate of wildlife death at a North Shields pond.

Concerns were raised over the situation at Linear Park Lake, in Royal Quays, after a number of ducks were found to have died or were lethargic.

Nearby residents had feared that the water was being poisoned but tests carried out by the Environment Agency revealed an algal bloom with the potential to be toxic to birds and fish.

And latest tests by North Tyneside Council have revealed no immediate problem.

Last Thursday, users of the park had found a number of ducks had died at the lake, which runs into Royal Quays Marina.

And the following day, more dead ducks were found, with officials from the RSPCA taking away both the dead and ill birds.

Jane Young, who came across the dying ducks while walking a friend’s dog, said: “People thought someone was poisoning the lake as the ducks were dying but the Moorhens were fine.

“When I first saw it last Thursday, the ducks were still alive but very lethargic.

“It was weird, I’ve never seen them acting like that before. They were just sitting like statues on the top of the water.

“Then when I went further down, I noticed two dead ducks. The next day there was half a dozen and some in the marina.”

She added: “The ponds are very neglected. They are full of bottles, cans, plastics and rubbish.

“They are not looked after at all. I find it all rather sad.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We were made aware last Thursday evening that a number of birds had been found dead at Linear Park Lake, North Shields in North Tyneside.

“On Friday, we were also informed that there were further dead birds in the marina below the lake.

“We worked with our partners at North Tyneside Council and the RSPCA to carry out an investigation, and did some sampling of the water and an algal bloom on the lake.

“These were analysed and confirmed that the algal bloom has the potential to be toxic to birds and fish.

“We’ve passed this information to North Tyneside Council.”

A council spokesperson said: “Following discussions with the Environment Agency who are carrying out water tests for the authority we have concluded the water appears to be safe and there is no need to erect signs warning the public.

“We are also pleased to report the amount of red algae bloom is reducing and is now in a small isolated patch.

“We will, of course, continue to monitor this area and take whatever action is appropriate over the coming weeks.

“An environment team attended the ponds on Wednesday to carry out a cleaning operation.”