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On Site Ecology Diary – January 2023

For this month’s on-site ecology diary, you can see it has been a cold and snowy start to the year, which means there hasn’t been much work going on across site. I do think that most construction sites benefit aesthetically from a dusting of snow, although the thawing process tends to never look quite as pretty.

Access track closed due to snow

Although January would be considered too early for a lot of birds to think about nesting, ravens do nest early in the season. I noticed this pair nest prospecting whilst I was down in Norfolk over the Christmas break.

Electricity pylon with two ravens on it
Electricity pylon with two ravens on it
Pair of ravens on a pylon
Pair of ravens on a pylon

If your site has critical outage work planned then it could be worth putting up bird scarers on any of the towers you are likely to need to work on. In general, ravens can tolerate some disturbance from humans, but if their nest is in a location such as an arm that needs replacement steel, then nest prevention is a much easier option, rather than going for nest removal under licence later.

With snow on the ground, wader species and other ground-nesting birds won’t be nesting yet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about it. I took this footage on a site in Moray a few years ago, as you can see its frosty (-8C at the time) but the birds were exhibiting courtship behaviour.

The snow doesn’t seem to have deterred the local otters though, who are still being seen regularly on the trail camera. The limiting factor seems to be getting decent footage in the wind, rain and snow, rather than the animals not being around.