Guess What I Found…..

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

It’s a skylark nest, with four beautiful, tiny eggs in it.  Skylarks are birds of open grasslands and they build their nests on the ground, often producing 2 or 3 broods per year.  The nests are incredibly hard to find because they are so well concealed from predators.

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

Skylark numbers have plummeted in the UK by over 90% in the past 50 years as our traditional hay meadows have been replaced by much more intensively managed grasslands that are mown for silage 2 or 3 times a year – the mowing destroys the nests, and so the populations of skylarks and other grassland species have declined rapidly.

This place is different though.  This nest is one of around 60 that can be found on a dis-used World War II airfield near St Davids in West Wales.  The grassland is managed just like an old fashioned hay meadow, with grazing by cattle in the winter, and hay making in late summer, and with no inputs of chemical fertilisers.

The airfield was once a place where the great Halifax bombers flew to patrol along the Atlantic coast and where thousands of service men and women were housed.

St Davids Airfield aerial

These days the airfield is a place of tranquility and calm and home to wild flowers, butterflies and skylarks.

Photo: Mike Howe
Photo: Mike Howe

I have met and talked with some of the men who flew from here at the height of the war, and they couldn’t be happier that this is now a place of peace and where wildlife can thrive.  It seems like a wonderful way to honour and remember those that died on both sides, a place of vibrant and colourful life and peaceful quiet.

11 thoughts on “Guess What I Found…..”

  1. What a lovely recycling of an aerodrome and its history especially when,these days, airports spend huge sums of money keeping wild life away from their planes and buildings. I believe airports are now using grass that makes birds feel sick (not die, just feel sick) to prevent them from coming near the runways.

  2. Wonderful photos and stories Mike — as always, you are excellent at weaving seemingly different stories together…so cool that there are still some WWII Vets still around to talk to…

    1. Thanks Kevin I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Unfortunately there are fewer and fewer WWII Vets to talk to, and sadly the last one I spoke to is no longer with us, but he had vivid memories of being in the last Halifax bomber to take off from the airfield during wartime. All the best, Mike

  3. I enjoyed this – you managed to tell several intertwined stories about animals, history, and land use …. using a few pictures and not too many words (I would not get this across in my usual long-winded posts 😀 )

    1. Thank you Elke, I’m glad you liked it and appreciated its conciseness 🙂 I don’t like to assume people want to read loads of verbage. You, on the other hand, write wonderful posts that are not at all long winded, I enjoy them very much 🙂

    1. Thanks! Yes it was one of those great moments to find such a perfect little nest. The airfield is a wonderful place now, full of history and atmosphere. Thanks for commenting I really appreciate it 🙂

Comments very welcome

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