WIND TURBINES COULD BE A RISK TO BIRD LIFE
A bird lover from Clifton believes the wind turbines planned by the University of Nottingham could have a significant impact on birds in the area. The turbines would measure 125 metres and three of them are planned for land across the River Trent at Beeston.
Robert Hoare, webmaster and bird recorder of Clifton Grove Birds, said: “Wind turbines placed at the proposed location opposite Clifton Grove would, in my opinion, cause disturbance to resident birds by noise and a high risk of bird strike to resident and migratory birds.
“The whole of the Trent Valley is a well-known migratory route, with birds following the route of the River Trent to navigate to and from their breeding and wintering grounds.
During the last 14 years I have been recording birds found in the location of Clifton Grove, with a particular interest in visible migration.
“Many birds have been recorded using this route for migration, with all records documented. Many migrating birds usually tend to fly high over the area, as they try to time migration with high pressure and clear skies. This, however, doesn’t always work and many hundreds of birds are forced to fly lower when they hit a low-pressure system. If the low pressure continues then migrating birds are grounded when and wherever they hit this weather system.
“The most likely candidates to fall victim to bird strike are the larger migrants. A good example of this are the many hundreds of pink-footed geese that fly over the area en-route to their wintering grounds in Norfolk. I have recorded skeins of geese flying low over Clifton Grove on many occasions. These birds choose to fly high over the area but are very often pushed to lower altitudes by low-pressure systems.
“The peak period for skeins migrating through the area is October and November. The area can become very foggy in the early part of the day and low-flying geese caught up in a low-pressure system in foggy conditions could be catastrophic if these wind turbines are in place.
“Other migratory birds that could be prone to bird strike are wild swans, other species of wild geese (although scarce here), raptors and night-flying migrants such as woodcock and winter thrush’s.
“My biggest concern here with bird strike is the resident bird life.
“Wildfowl and mute swan are all low-flying birds and birds that I would put at risk from bird strike. Raptors and Owls are in my opinion of very high risk.
“Common Buzzards tend to look for prey as they soar, so they would probably fail to see the blades until it is too late. Peregrine falcons and hobbies are high pursuit predators; flying at such high speeds when in pursuit of their prey, they wouldn’t stand a chance if hunting around the turbines.
“The barn owl is also another predator that when hunting is so focused on its prey it would probably be a high-risk casualty if hunting in the vicinity of these blades.
“The main problem with these wind turbines is that there is no second chance against bird strike, no learning progress on how to avoid flying into the blades, no room for error.
“Noise of the rotating blades could also be a big problem to species that feed and nest in the area. In the spring many scarce passerine species use the area to breed, but would probably no longer use this site if these wind turbines were in place, putting added pressure on certain birds trying to find suitable nesting territories.
With Clifton Grove Nature Reserve opposite and the award-winning Attenborough Nature Reserve just up river from the proposed wind turbine site, I find it totally irresponsible to even consider the idea of erecting wind turbines on this stretch of the river.”