My job as Assistant Manager on a Grounds Maintenance contract in High Wycombe gets me out and about around all the local parks and as I also carry the rather grand title of 'Biodiversity Champion' for the contract, I feel duty bound to keep an eye on all the birds and wildlife in general around said parks. As you can imagine this is a tough ask for me but I crack on with it as I'm a team player.
Adjoining Holmers Farm Rec Ground is a disused BMX track which has long since gone wild and become an oasis for bird life right next to the M40 motorway. During the Spring and Summer months it teems with warblers such as Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and even regular Garden Warblers. It's a guaranteed Finch-fest as well with good numbers of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Greenfinch, 2 resident pairs of Bullfinch and last winter I noted a pair of Brambling.
One of my staff, Jim Shaw, is a fellow birder and we've often talked about how we could imagine one day finding a rarity on this site. A good Warbler or Shrike species maybe. But a few days ago I got the news that the bulldozers had moved in. The site was to become an overflow car park for the already vast John Lewis car park. For some reason I had to see for myself and managed to pay a visit today. My heart sank as the devastation came in to view. There were no workmen on site, presumably rain stopped play but the results of their labour so far were evident.
Just one corner of trees and bushes remained. Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Wren ,Blackbird and Robin were all concentrated into this corner. Then I was momentarily pleased and then saddened to see a stunning male Bullfinch alight in one of the yet to be felled small trees and a female flit out of sight.
I could only hope that they can find a new home in time for the imminent nesting season. Be lucky guys.
I suppose getting even more bodies through the doors at John Lewis is more important than Bullfinches........said he lying through his gritted teeth.