Today having spent a great deal of time at RSPB Northward Hill, I thought it was about time I paid a visit to the fabulous Lodge Hill. For those who don't know it, it is an abandoned British Army Camp in Chattenden. Medway Council have had their eye on it as a potential 'small town' for some years now. Originally a plan was put in place to build 5,000 dwellings on the site with planned infrastructure such as schools, surgeries, police station etc.
In 2014 following an extensive ecological survey of the site, many valuable fauna and flora species were identified and large swathes of the ex-army camp were designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which should (in theory) afford the site protection in law from predatory developers. I say, in theory, because from long experience local councils and housing developers promise the earth when seeking approval for their plans once granted seem to at a stroke be able to rescind those promises with very little consequences.
As I parked opposite the Guardhouse I was hardly out of the car when the first male struck up his iconic song, a jumble of trills, bubbles, chup chup chups and whistles.
On our walks, small wonder 'Nightingale virgins' ask frequently 'How many birds are singing"? They are amazed when told, 'one bird'.
Of course, the fact that 84 singing males (1.5%) of the UK population was recorded is not the only reason this site is special and should, at all cost be preserved for the populace of the South-East and beyond.
Today I saw Partridge feeding on the grass, three Common Buzzard circling overhead, calling their contact mewing, a Grey Heron flew off the Guardhouse car-park. One of the Buzzards was mobbed by a Crow. Watching and listening to the sound and sights of nature all around me, reminded me that, given a decade (or even less ) Mother Nature can recover, given the space from over-crowding human invasion, resulting in habit-loss.
A Buzzard mews on high, a Green Woodpecker yaffles afar, Swifts scream and pursue aloft, Herons alight from a water body with a loud, harsh croak.
All sights and sounds lost to us if Medway Council and the Government Dept. Homes England get their way, even for the scaled down house numbers they have released
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