Take a walk on the wild side at... Beckton!

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Take a walk on the wild side at… Beckton!

[Photo courtesy of David Morrison] 

When thinking about wildlife, your mind may instinctively wonder to the vast plains of Africa, or Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, teeming with life – probably not Thames Water’s site in Beckton.

With the cold winds of autumn and winter now blowing in, staff at the sewage works are now helping to prepare the grounds for the plethora of wildlife which calls the site home.

A family of breeding kestrels bedded in at in a ventilation pipe last winter, and now the chicks have flown the nest the pipe has been covered, ensuring the sludge powered generator can operate as normal.

However, not to deter any future breeding pairs, the team installed a bespoke nesting box, located close to an area where the birds have been seen roosting and feeding.

A move which is already proving popular, with kestrels spotted inspecting their new home.

“We’ve loved watching the kestrels mature over the summer months and fly the nest, but we do need to operate our sludge powered generator as normal,” says Beckton Creekside Nature Reserve manager, Danny Regan.

“That’s why we’ve built these beautiful birds somewhere to stay."

Take a walk on the wild side at… Beckton!

[Photo courtesy of David Morrison]  

It’s been a champagne summer for the site, with resident local wildlife photographer David Morrison, capturing Little Egrets feeding on the banks of the reserve.

The birds, from the heron family, are only known to have begun breeding in the UK in the 1990’s. “Their presence is good news for this part of the Thames,” says Karen Sutton, biodiversity team manager.

“In these numbers, there’s clearly enough fish to support them, which speaks volumes about the health of the river.”

A clique of kingfishers has also recently been spotted fishing, with peregrine falcons breeding at the nearby Environment Agency flood defence.

The team is also undertaking a monitoring programme on site, which is part of a British Trust for Ornithology’s programme to look at bird movements and population successes – with the Thames Water team giving a demonstration of what’s involved at the recent TideFest event.

It’s not just birds though, with Danny creating an area for bugs, small mammals and reptiles to thrive. “It seems to be working,” he says.

“I’ve seen common lizards, grass snakes, field mice and voles in this newly created space – it’s an oasis in what is a busy part of the city”.

The site is open to the public all week, complete with several new viewing areas. More information can be found here.

[Photo courtesy of David Morrison]

Take a walk on the wild side at… Beckton!