Adjacent to Worlaby Carr Lane, leading from the village down to the River Ancholme near Brigg, used to be a huge area of carr land and rough grassland. It was part of a Countryside Stewardship agreement and was a wonderful area for raptors, especially short-eared owls; up to 20 birds regularly being present in the winter. It was also excellent for marsh harrier, barn owl, buzzard and kestrels, all of which were regular visitors and it was not unusual to spot a hen harrier down here in the winter. It was a haven for many smaller birds at all times of the year. For many years it has been a popular spot with bird watchers and photographers. Unfortunately the Stewardship arrangement has come to an end, but, rather than renew it, the landowner has opted to return the land to agriculture. Despite pleas and petitions it seems that none of the local and national conservation bodies were able to do anything to change the situation. As I was passing yesterday, I drove down to see for myself and how sad it was. All the rough vegetation has been cleared, trees and bushes removed and it looks as though ploughing is to begin, with industrial sized agricultural machinery. I understand that oil seed rape is to be grown as if there wasn't enough of this crop. Does everything in this world have to come down to profit!!! As I was driving back down the lane, I did see three buzzards, but, to my knowledge, not one single short-eared owl has been seen there this winter. How sad!
I include below a small section of short-eared owl photographs that I have taken in previous winters.
To view large, click on an image.