Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wind turbines and dog daisies

click photo to enlarge
Drifting clouds above, drifts of dog daisies below. And, drifting by in the mid-distance, to the left of the nearest wind turbine, a buzzard. I took this photograph on one of those June afternoons when the light is bright, the air is clear because the temperature's around 16 Celsius, and the world is looking at its best. Yes, even with hulking great wind turbines dotted about!

I'd gone to the wind farm for two reasons. Firstly to get a photograph or two, and secondly to have a look at the wildlife areas that surround the associated electricity sub-station, and check on the growth of the trees, bushes, grasses and flowers. The Fens is an intensively cultivated area of England, with cereals and vegetables predominating (though near these turbines is a fruit farm), and relatively few cattle and sheep (though both could be seen from this spot). What it doesn't have that most other areas of the country do is extensive pasture. There are pieces here and there, but nothing on a big scale except along the banks of the larger, canal-like drains. It also lacks woodlands of any size and patches of uncultivated land are rare. Consequently, the deliberate planting of an area to encourage wildlife is to be applauded. This one isn't large, but in a Fenland location even a small reserve makes a significant contribution to biodiversity.

On the day of my visit the dog daisies were flowering in profusion - banks of white and yellow heads were everywhere dancing on the breeze. Birds were flitting here and there too. In twenty minutes of looking over the reserve I saw yellowhammers, skylarks, reed buntings, house sparrows, starlings, tree sparrows, sedge warblers, a whitethroat, red-legged partridges, kestrels, greenfinches, goldfinches, magpies, blue tits, great tits, a little owl and pied wagtails. Beyond its confines was the buzzard, carrion crows, pheasants, wood pigeons and collared doves. I know that if I'd visited nearer to sunset there would have been barn owls and tawny owls too.

A while ago I wrote a blog entry entitled "Co-existence" about how wind farms, farming and wildlife try to live alongside each other. It was illustrated with a photograph taken from near the distant tree line in the image above. As I drove home from today's outing I thought about the wildlife I'd seen in the shadow of the turbines and pylons, and wondered whether there were other areas that could be similarly exploited to further improve that co-existence.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On