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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Beckton Barn Owls

I have been aware of these, as have other London Birders probably for a good number of years, I can still remember Ken telling me about them many years ago, they have been on the Thames Water site for a good 25 years, very likely longer.

Being a Schedule 1 species I have never advertised them, not until now, they only really came visually to my notice with confirmed breeding in 2011/12, this was when I spent quite a bit of time watching them.

Being that it is now a very secure site, and in particular an impregnable nest site, I thought I would bring them to light having checked firstly with Thames Water.
Being involved with London’s Peregrines, advertising them is not something I would do lightly unless totally secure and on a private site.

As you can imagine they are very hard to see and totally nocturnal, I know they range along the A406 verges as I have seen them, they also cross the A13 as again, I and other Birders have seen them. These are total Urban Owls, they are extremely site faithful and even with a massive construction program they are still present, albeit nocturnally.

Having said all that, of late I have put in a bit of time in the dark hours lately and have not seen them coming or going to their nest site, if indeed they are nesting.

Are they still present, hard to say, could the dramatic changes to their foraging areas, large scale construction on site finally pushed them onto pastures new? A new landscape for wildlife is being put in situ along with a pond so given time wildlife will return, Boxes are also being put in place for them.

I intend to try and find out this weekend. Below are a few photos from the past few years, I hope I am wrong on this and am just missing them.

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