A PARAGLIDER has sparked fury after flying dangerously low over one of the borough’s best wildlife centres.
Birds flew away in terror as he stooped down so low he even put his own safety at risk, during the incident which took place at Pennington Flash last Sunday.
Onlookers were left stunned and one managed to catch him in the act by taking these photographs.
The Wigan Evening Post reader, who died not want to be named, said: “He was buzzing around the Flash for about half an hour at lunchtime; he came over the rucks not much above water height.
“He came back the same way making fast manoeuvres, circling round the Rammies area. He put up every bird from every pool and that included the Flash.
“At one point more than 1,000 birds were up in the air, leaving not a bird on Teal, Rammies, Scrape, Pengys and the main Flash apart from the East Bay.
“I’m sure he must have known the havoc he was causing.
“I think he was also a danger to the public – he was so low. The way he was flying, he looked almost like he could crash at any time.”
The report and photos have been greeted with a stern warning of the dangers to wildlife and to the public of paragliding over the Flashes from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, which manages the site on behalf of Wigan Council.
Parks manager, Pete Alker, said: “Low flying over the Flash causes panic in wildfowl and other water birds and causes them to waste valuable energy flying around or in some cases causes them to leave the Flash and the reserve ponds and go elsewhere.
“This has a detrimental effect on both the birds and the many visitors who come to watch them at what is one of the best bird watching sites in the North West.
“We don’t have a problem with people enjoying an activity such as paragliding but we would ask that they don’t fly low over the Flash and cause such unnecessary disturbance. It would have been very obvious to this individual how much havoc he was causing.”
Countryside manager Graham Workman added: “If you are getting so many birds up like that, you put yourself at serious risk.
“It would be so easy for one to crash into him and he could come crashing down.
“With the time it was at too, there would have been quite a few people there who he could have hit.
“It’s a selfish thing to do. He’s putting birds up that don’t need to be flushed at this time of year.”