A barn owl was recently spotted by the Freyssinet team while carrying out investigation works on pier 2 of the Bletchley Flyover near Milton Keynes. The owl was discovered hiding in a cross head adjacent to a bridge bearing.
The Freyssinet team immediately reported the finding to and an exclusion zone was set up around the area to ensure the owl was protected. Barn owls are schedule 1 birds under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and so a specialist licenced ecologist was enlisted to establish whether or not the owl was nesting in the location.
East West Rail Alliance Environment Manager Ruth Voigt said at the time: “This discovery just goes to show that birds such as this can squeeze themselves into impossibly small gaps and we need to remain vigilant at all times. Whilst we can’t be sure at this stage, we think the gap the owl is in is too small for nesting and as such we should be able to continue works in the area once we have confirmation from the specialist. What is particularly pleasing is the response of the Freyssinet and 2C team, who followed all due process and quickly put a plan of action in place. Well done to all involved”
Following the ecologist’s assessment, no evidence of a nest was discovered, and the owl appears to have left the area. Freyssinet’s investigation works are now continuing as planned.
Ruth added: “We’re really pleased the owl has moved on to a new location, with no evidence of nesting found… The Freyssinet and 2C teams were exemplary and we’re relieved the owl has safely moved on so we can continue our works unaffected.”
Find out more about the East West Rail project here: https://eastwestrail.co.uk/the-project