Friday, 21 June 2013

Loss of habitat

No I'm not wild about the loss of habitat for some of our favourite species and when it's happening on my local patch it's even more frustrating.

For a few years now a housing development has been going up between Great Denham and Bedford. This has been eating into the meadows which hold breeding Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and in recent years Lapwings. These species are red and amber listed so why are we building on this area?

As the building work spreads we have lost the breeding Lapwings this year and there is less and less area for the Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, especially as this year the land owner has decided to cut some areas of the remaining meadows on a weekly basis! I think this is for the forthcoming country park which is part of this development. Great a country park you might say and I agree to some extent as at least it saves a bit of the land for wildlife. The problem is it looks like this country park will be more of a park, with sports pitches, than a country park. They've already ploughed a large area, seeded it and planted a few trees around the edge. As much as I like trees and woodland we already have large areas of Bedfordshire being turned into forest, what we don't have is lots of wild flower meadows and the associated species, so why change it? The new managed grass areas need to be cut once a week to keep the grass "nice" which must be costing quite a bit. In these times of austerity why not just leave it and cut it for hay once a year?

Anyway (steps down from his soap box) while I was walking across the meadows yesterday I thought of an idea for a photograph in which a singing Skylark would be pictured against the backdrop of the building work. I went back this morning and had my first attempt but the Skylarks weren't playing ball, then a Meadow Pipit "parachuted" in on a song flight and settled on the fence marking the boundary of the building work.

Meadow Pipit
I quite like this next one where the bird is looking out over the building site but I really needed to be closer to the bird and further from the digger.
Meadow Pipit
I tried to get a bit closer to the Pipit but it took off again on another song flight and I nearly walked off until I saw it come down further along the fence, on one of the posts so I thought I'd try again.
Meadow Pipit
Unfortunately it didn't hang about long and I lucked into this shot as it took off, it's not the greatest posture but it's close to what I was looking for, just the wrong species, not singing, too far away and too close to the background!  
Meadow Pipit
Anyway I'll be back to try again, I found a better location to shoot from, it just needs a Skylark to take off from the right spot and it'll all be good. I know, I don't want much do I?

Incidentally that digger in the background is currently stripping the area where the Lapwings nested last year, it almost makes you weep.