Sunday, 22 September 2013

WHERE'S THE MOST UNUSAL PLACE YOU'VE BIRDWATCHED?

Pretty unusual is a random phrase but I couldn't think of a better title, it's 1am and I've had to watch the Americans butcher another classic Japanese horror film, just to watch Quatermass 2, don't ask I just love them, also it's taken my some 4 hours to transfer and backup all my image from two external hard-drives onto one super "dooper" one, god it was a chore.
During the process I came across these images taken when I started out as a birder armed with the mighty 400d and a 100-400mm taken on the 30th March 2008 and I popped my Barn Owl cherry....and got a harsh dose of what was to come for our wildlife in the years that followed.
 They were taken on what was a great site for both Short Eared Owls and as you can see Barn Owls, but there was so much more down there, it's known locally as Upton Mill. Today it now has a rather large housing estate, built on a flood plain, and was given an award for it's "eco"/"environmentally" sound approach to house building by Prince Charles, shame such "eco housing has trashed a wildlife rich area. But at least they had some lovely solar panels fitted and were well insulated!! It also has the Swan Valley Industrial estate, so called because they had to dig a big valley to hide all the dead wildlife.......that bit could be a small fib.

SEE THE BIG TREE THAT'S GREEN, THAT WAS IT'S NEST, THE TREE IS STILL THERE BUT WITH A ROAD FEET AWAY, THE BARN OWL ISN'T
 As you can see from the images this Barn Owl lost it's home, despite me as a "naive" newbie birder calling the RSPB for help to either re-home or stop the building whilst the pair (there were two) bred, remember it was the 30th March, I won't say what the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds said at the time, but it left an impression on me for sure......
"I'M SURE THIS WAS MINE TO HUNT IN?"
Apart from the already established industrial estate the diggers moved in to put a road, a much needed road for ALL the traffic from the estate to swiftly move without hindrance to either Junction 16 of the M1 (instead of junction 15a which is closer???!!!) and help traffic avoid the Sixfields area, however the "trunk" road is hardly ever busy and at best is a waste of money and at worst it trampled through a great area for little benefit......seriously hardly anyone uses it!
"LIVE WELL FOR LESS"....LESS GREEN SPACES AND LESS WILDLIFE.
The above image is hardly brilliant, in fact most on this post are poor at best, but I feel it conveys what I'm trying to put across better then any of the other images.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Sorry Adrian I'm in one of those moods today, it's not helped by all the green I see being "grey-washed".

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    2. No need to be sorry. This nonsense should never get passed or passed by the planners.
      HS2 will not bring people to the north where there are plenty of brown field sites. It will just put more pressure on your area for housing and shopping development.

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    3. What annoys me is we have a lot of brown field sites, sadly they're being developed for out-of-town retail parks, even though we're told more and more is done online or like the Avon/Nunn Mills site it's being developed for business and yet another college/university site, we already have 4 seperate college/uni sites in Northampton one agricultural college and UCT at Silverstone yet again we're told with the introduction of tution fees college places won't be filled, so what's the point in spending 330 million on a college...we're stupid.

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  2. The whole country is going this way. Green space is rapidly declining; wildlife is dying. Fill the thousands of unoccupied homes first, that's the solution.

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    1. Sadly Christian you're right. Small chunks are vanishing bit by bit unnoticed until it's too late. Really agree with your last statement, we had a scheme where we're supposed to report empty housing on our estate there's quite a few (15 at last count), yet two years on they're still empty. But it's also the style of housing we're building. If you look at most housing being built it's 3-4 bedroom detached houses built on small plots of land with big gardens, I believe this style of housing is unfit for modern UK, we have to cram as much housing on these small plots, I'd like to see the good old fashioned (but modernised) terrace housing to maximise the land availiable and reduce the size of the footprint of the housing we're building...more on that at a later date.

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  3. I can think of better ways to spend a few hours Douglas but I'm afraid backing up is one of those tasks that has to be done!
    Thanks for reminding me, that's my tomorrows job sorted then!
    You're only backing up to ONE hard drive??

    It's sad to see all the local habitat loss but I'm afraid it's the way things are going these days. We need all those new housing estates, out of town shopping parks and all the new roads to be able to get to them quicker...don't we?

    I hope those Barn Owls where able to re-locate to a new and safer area?...[;o)

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    1. No it will be two hard drives, but the shop only had the one left so as soon as they've got more in, I've another four hours of fun!
      Do we need all the houses-debatable there's plenty of brown spaces left to build on and plenty of housing perfectly suitable left standing empty ut everyone wants big gardens and four bedrooms etc, out of town shopping parks-should've been housing instead, look at your average retail park and the shops on them JD sports-closed down, Blacks-number of their shops closed down, PC World-merged and now all in one shop, the remainder closed down, Comets etc etc waste of money and now all empty except for the fast food outlets, as for getting to them quicker, nope go slower use less petrol....
      Sadly the Barnies did relocate but they didn't survive long :(

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  4. Don't think I have ever backed up yet....oops! Building going on all around us, some on sensible sites but more on some "what were they thinking" sites.

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    1. Heather I must recommend backing up images somewhere other then leaving them on a pc/laptop so much can go wrong with a computer from over excited pet knocking them over and breaking it to the worse someone stealing it, I prefer using an external hard drive but there are "cloud" services availiable on line but don't use disks as they can get damaged and sometimes refuse to open. If you think of all the images you've taken, how many can you easily replace and how many couldn't be replace/reshot.
      Sadly I watched on my local news of another 65 acre site being developed from farmland to housing :o(

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  5. I was wondering whether to answer your question about the most unusual place for birding, as nobody else seems to have done so, but here goes anyway.

    In a previous existence I spent much of my time in railway locomotive depots/sheds/yards in many parts of Europe and even further afield. These places in Central Europe were great for birds, the most regular being Black Redstart, with Crested Lark following close behind. I have seen some other gems in these places, like Rosefinch and Serin for example.

    Back ups - I think I'm quite good about this. I never knock a file off my camara memory card until I've done two backups onto archive-quality DVD - these DVDs are labelled as 'photo tempstore' and stored in two different places. I've therefore got three copies at that stage (PC + 2xDVD). One a month I back up onto a second internal hard drive (now got four copies). At the end of the year I copy all the images for the year from the 'working hard drive' onto two more sets of archive-quality DVDs and these are fully indexed and labeled. I then also write these images to the second hard drive (so there is a second copy on that drive).
    At that stage I wipe the images of the 'working hard drive' to save me running out of space and to help me get to what I'm working on quickly. However, I've now got 4 copies on DVD and also the back-up copies on the second hard drive for quick access if I want images from an earlier year. So if you wanted to know how I spend my Januaries, now you know!!

    I know - nothing's foolproof (especially where this fool is concerned!), so it will probably still find a way of biting me on the backside one day!

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    1. DVD discs scare me Richard, I've had nothing but problems with some, I do prefer the hard drive, so far it's been reliable.
      Your choice of unusal spot is unique, it leaves me in awe the way nature adapts, could we easily adapt if forced to..probably not. But your choice throws up another question. Sometime ago I was watching a programme all about the restoration of one of the "greats" steam locomotives, I think it was the Flying Scotsman. Well one of the experts was an old boy with the surname Pegler at the time I though "nah just coincindence, probably as many Peglers as there are Mcfarlane's" but now you say spent a lot of time in locomotive sheds etc and I can't help wondering, the Pegler (sorry can't remember the first name) I saw on TV isn't related by any chance Richard?

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    2. The guy you're talking about was Alan Pegler. I understand that he made his money from plumbing fittings. There used to be a bloody great chimney with 'PEGLER' written on it by the railway line in Doncaster - the taps in the bogs at the Lyndon Centre at Rutland Water have his/my name on! My dad used to tell me we were distantly related (not me and my dad, our family and Alan Pegler!), but then my dad was given to flights of fancy! It's just coincidence that I used to make a living by taking railway enthusiasts to places that, otherwise, they could only dream of!!

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    3. Thought it might just have been a coincidence, it would have "bugged" me if I didn't ask, one less thing to ponder :o)

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  6. Sorry! I forgot to say what an interesting and thought-provoking post Doug. Great reading and some nicely exxecuted and poignant images.

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  7. A very sad story indeed :( I am yet to take a photo of a barn owl, this really should change!!

    I really need to find a decent cloud service that isn't too expensive. I do have an external hard drive but it is full and someone put me off using them, saying just as much can go wrong with them as a laptop!

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    1. It was a sad end. I hope you get a chance to photograph a Barn Owl if you get a pro-longed chance it's an amazing natural sight.
      I agree Cloud services can be pricey and they worry me a bit too, like if the provider goes belly up.
      To be fair I've never heard of too many stories of hard drives going wrong but with all technology I guess they can go wrong and get damaged, but I do swear by them but at the same time I do use two, just in case, I'm sad enough to keep one at home and one around my mums...can't believe I just admitted to that:o)

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