This site isn't that new I had just never realised a footpath was adjacent to another road that was around the back of the site hidden by bushes, the charm of cycling is you have bit more time to peer over hedges as you cycle along roads and be a bit of nosy sod. I also got a tip off about a Barn Owl on the site so went and explored it yesterday and today (8th and 9th) didn't care about the football.
The initial signs was promising....
|WONDER IF THE SAME APPLIES TO BIRDERS|
|WREN'S NEST? TAKEN WITH CAMERA PHONE|
If at the footpath you turn right and follow the path you'll soon come across this meadow.
|MARBLE WHITE OR IS IT MARBLED|
|NOT A CLUE FOR THIS ONE|
|THINK THIS IS A MOTH|
It is really interesting watching a brownfield site something quite ugly be reclaimed by nature with a helpful shove of a human hand kind of cheers me up and gives me a weird feeling of hope.
I saw another Hobby and a few Swifts on site today, the weirdest sight was watching a distant Buzzard doing a Kestrel impression and hovering plenty of common birds and a Sparrowhawk too, I checked some old buildings out but no sign of any Barn Owl activity. I was beginning to wonder if the tip was from a hoax, the lady in question was from Pitsford and the gravel pit has applied for permission (some time ago now) to be a landfill site, which would tally up with the new meadow and footpaths a sort of "compensation" so maybe I was thinking she was saying a Barn Owl was on site in a bid to get support to stop the planning application. On Tuesday I didn't leave the sight until 10:30pm and no sign it was dark by the time I was cycling home, very dark. I was back up and suitably hidden with a vantage point of the whole site at 4am today, the only owl heard was a Little Owl late pm and at about 8:30am today from the farmers field down the other section of the site. There is a barn on the farm next to the meadow but it's one of those big metal tin shed style ones, a barn on the other side of the road looks good but all out of bounds so couldn't check properly
Yesterday the clouds weren't to friendly (check the image above) but got a few shots
This is what got me excited when I saw the steep and very high bank.....
The image below reminds me of a face!
PLEASE note I was using my 500mm lens and these are heavy cropped i.e. I was standing/staying away from the actual nest holes by some distance...leave them to get on with breeding and feeding is always the way to go. Sandmartins leaving or entering the nest doesn't "do it" for me image wise. Just a quick record shot or two then move further away. Sandmartins if left alone are curious buggers and will come and fly over you, human watching I guess.
I did find this pellet yesterday so perhaps there is a Barn Owl but to me it's too dark, perhaps a Kestrel? When I was sat next to the meadow apart from the sounds of grasshoppers I did hear the odd squelch and squeak from mammals but being such long grass could not see what exactly was making the noise. So there is food around and to be fair apart from no obvious tree (all obvious were checked for pellets and any entrances) it does scream Barn Owl friendly habitat.....of course I will keep checking and explore the site more for birds next time. It did leave me thinking with the various ditches, meadows,ponds two things 1)would the local wildlife trust look into buying the site and 2)why gravel pits make such a good place for nature.