The arrival of the peregrine chicks, or ‘eyasses’, certainly created a stir once again amongst the staff and students here at Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst Campus in Southwell. As the highs and lows were streamed live into the reception area of our Bramley building, the footage over the past several days has been a reminder to us all that the power and effect of mother nature can never be taken for granted, underestimated or forgotten.
The recent events also coincided with the arrival of the summer’s first swallows on the estate here at Brackenhurst. This ends their long migratory journey from Africa. Sightings include feeding flights over fields and ponds, along with the search for potential nesting sites in and around the buildings at Brackenhurst’s very own home farm.
Following on from the recent blog regarding the viewing of raptors, Brackenhurst’s rural location allows it to be used for just that. Buzzards (Buteo buteo), kestrels, (Falco tinnunculus), sparrowhawks (Accipter nisus) and the occasional red kite (Milvus milvus) have been viewed throughout the year.
Their success here is probably due to the high number of species rich hedgerows, diverse field margins and woodland. These will naturally provide a quality habitat to a variety of species lower down the food chain, such as invertebrates, which in turn will provide a food source for a variety of bird species, right up to the apex predators such as the raptors.
Preparations are being made for the much anticipated annual use of our own bird boxes, which are dotted about the campus on various trees and buildings for the use of smaller, hole nesting bird species, such as the great tit (Parus major), blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and tree sparrow (Passer montanus). Due to the high uptake of birds using the boxes, we have recently installed around 50 new boxes, and replaced many of the old and damaged ones.
All the boxes will be constantly monitored throughout the nesting season. Some will be wired with a live video link to various locations around the campus for viewing by students in communal areas. The live streaming may also create the opportunity for postgraduate study into species behaviour in the future.
Simon Taylor & Gemma Clark
Field & Environment Technicians
Nottingham Trent University