Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

How Big and Brave?

Disabled Parking on Reserves – a Waste of Space?

Let’s face it, no-one bothers about little blue signs when there are birds to be seen do they?

Besides, it’s only the reserve management being politically correct, isn’t it?

Why would disabled people want to visit reserves for goodness sake? If there’s a parking space available then that’s were I’ll park even if there is a little blue sign there.

Well that [according to a recent correspondent who, understandably wished to keep his identity off air,] is what some people clearly think….He wrote:

I had been looking forward to a weekend visit to North Norfolk for several months after some friends booked a caravan for a week in October and invited me and my other half to stay for the Saturday night. There were few birds to be seen in Wells Woods and we decided to take a trip along the coast to Salthouse where a Richard’s Pipit had been seen over the past few days. There was no sign of the pipit while we were there but the Wilson’s Phalarope which had been at Cley was reported to have flown east so my friends and partner decided to walk along the shingle towards Cley NT reserve to try to locate it. Not being up to such a walk I offered to drive to the East Bank car park and meet them there.A small crowd had gathered on Walsey Hills and I managed to see the phalarope distantly from there before parking and watched my friends as they made their way along the coastal ridge.

Shortly after I arrived a car pulled in as I was looking for insects to photograph on the brambles and parked taking up two disabled spaces. I looked to see if the driver was going to reverse out to where I was standing to straighten up into just one of the spaces. Nope, no blue badge either. He and his girlfriend got out and wandered off towards Arnold’s Marsh. After about 25 yards they both turned and hurried back as I checked the progress of my friends feeling quite smug at having seen the phalarope before they had. I thought the couple were returning having left something behind in their car but to my complete astonishment he raced up to me and asked if I had a problem with him parking there.

“She said you were looking at me, have you got a problem or what?”

Feeling quite threatened and shaken I explained that I was just birding and looking out for my friends whereby they set off again down the East Bank while another able- bodied birder parked in the only other disabled space and made off towards Walsey Hills armed with tripod & ‘scope.

I was threatened without even challenging this inconsiderate maniac and I don’t suppose any reserve staff are checking for blue badges and what would happen if they weren’t displayed? Would they risk a similar verbal assault or worse?

So, and I address this question to my fellow British Birders, is disabled parking on reserves just a waste of space?

4th July 2014