I've been out of the loop since my last blog post, due to a very sore sprained foot. My last blog was about the release of three of my five Painted Lady butterflies, at Cranford Park, with the help of Corinna, who had to drive me there.
The link below is to my friends Tony and Audreys blog. I had to call on them to release the last two Painted Lady butterflies, as by that stage my foot was strapped up and I was on crutches. They duly did so, and wrote a lovely account of it...........
Today was my first 'outing' since hurting my foot. I've really missed being out and about, both at Lake Farm and Cranford Park, but as LF is that much nearer to me, and my foot is still a little tender, I trotted off there this afternoon.
I've known for some time now, that the many petitions, meetings etc to stop the new school development at Lake Farm, had failed, and I'd also been warned the works would start earlier rather than later. Several weeks ago Tony, Sue and I had discovered one of the oldest matures hedgerows by the Toddlers playground had already been ripped down. Today, I was dismayed to see portaloos, cars, vans and a huge yellow digger on the site. It has begun. The site known as Lake Farm Country Park is about to be torn apart.
In the map below, the orange area is the site of the new school. You can clearly see to the left of the orange area, a well marked out footpath. According to all the maps and proposals I have got my hands on, nothing is to be built to the left of the footpath. It will remain as it is now, and hopefully the birds will stay around.
The proposed school building area. The red line on the far left is the
footpath marked on the above map.
All of my data, including habitat, reptile, bird and tree surveys and several site maps.
But what use of a site map, if the heavy machinery is going to be bought in from the Dawley Road end of the site ???? That's the area, by the BMX track, that apparently isn't going to be built on. There are deep gauge marks from the top of the park by Dawley Road, cutting diagonally across Lake Farm. Huge tyre tracks have flattened down all the long grasses and scrubby bushes, that not long ago were nest sites to Skylarks, Reed Buntings, Common Whitethroats, Meadow Pipits, Blackbirds, Wrens, and other birds. As the site is going to be built on the corner of Botwell Lane and Botwell Common Road, why cant the machinery have been bought in from that direction ? All that land is going to be torn up anyway !!
Isn't it enough that we're losing over a quarter of this park in the first place. I would love to know who organised that logistical movement, and to know they're reasons why !
The footpath that is the boundary line. The area to the right will be the new school site, the area to the left is meant to be left as Lake Farm.
Huge great machine, sitting amongst the long grasses, that were just days ago, nest sites for the Skylarks. And I do know this, as I often watched them from this very point. The houses in the background are on Botwell Common Road.
After photographing this dreadful scene, I did have a wander around the remainder of the Lake Farm. Naturally there were no birds except pigeons, where the construction was going. But the corner shown to the right of the workmen above, was full with House Sparrows the last time I was there. Not one to be seen today.
I didn't walk far, as didn't want to put my foot under any strain, so I slowly meandered through my favourite area, the copsey shrubbery area near the willows. It paid off as the first bird I spied was a gorgeous male Black Redstart. That's the first for me on this patch. Unfortunately I got no photos of birds today, I didn't have my zoom lens on my camera. I also saw several Common Whitethroats, including at least five within the condemned new school area. Compared to last winter, when in one outing I counted 27 Reed Buntings, today I found just one solo male. Goldfinches were abundant, including some juveniles. A Hobby flew over whilst I watched the flooded willow area for another sighting of the Black Redstart. I also had a Red Kite glide over when I eventually left. Blackbirds and Starlings were plentiful, Wrens could be heard and the 'gull field' next door has started to attract a few Black-headed gulls again.
I wasn't out for long (only two hours compared to my usual seven or eight), but it was enough to leave me feeling quite 'down' when I left. I understand the new school is going to be built, whether we like it or not, but I'm not happy that the rest of the park is going to be used for getting the heavy machinery in and out. That hasn't been noted in any of the surveys, or proposed plans that I have.