Creating new Barn Owl boxes

Helping safeguard nesting sites at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve

The first of four new Barn Owl boxes have been installed at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve near Portishead.

The work is part of the environmental and ecological mitigation work National Grid is carrying out in the reserve, prior to installation of underground cables between the west end of Nailsea and Portishead substation in January 2020.

We are taking care to safeguard nesting sites for species of protected birds, by creating specialised buffer zones and relocating designated barn owl boxes and replacing them at a ratio of 2:1; resulting in four new barn owl boxes being installed at the reserve.

The North Somerset Council Natural Environment team said: “We’re very pleased to see the Barn Owl boxes being installed. As the mornings and evenings get darker, visitors should keep an eye out for the ghostly-white Barn Owl silently gliding across the fields of the reserve in search of food, before returning to their daytime roosts. It’s a truly wonderful sight.”

To prevent disturbance to all wintering birds between September and April, core construction activities at the reserve will be on hold; though vegetation removal work and some minor construction activity (with permission from the Local Authority) may take place.

Other work to protect and reduce disruption to wildlife include installation of temporary exclusion fencing and daily checks of pitfall traps and tiles to stop protected species from entering the construction areas. Any species found are safely translocated to designated sites within the reserve.

Read more about our activity to limit the impact of our work on this important habitat