It has been a real treat for the last few years to be able to watch the kestrels roosting and breeding in the nest box on the pylon in the car park. The youngsters fledging this summer was especially entertaining as they took their first flight, sitting on cars, or in hedges as they explored.

During the week we have erected 2 new kestrel nesting boxes around the visitor centre. The first is located on the roof of the visitor centre and the other on top of the bank next to the lapwing hide. Due to the height of the box on the bank we have devised a pully system that allows us to lower the nest box towards the ground to undertake maintenance or for the Rye Meads Ringing Group to ring any chicks.

We have picked locations that allow everyone to enjoy these wonderful birds while also giving them the height, open vista and distance from too much human disturbance that they require.

We have put these new boxes up now to give the pair (especially the male) a chance to get used to the new boxes. The National Grid have informed us that they must undertake some essential maintenance on the pylon in the car park this summer. This means that National Grid will be on site before the end of February to undertake the preparation work, which includes the removal of the kestrel box from the pylon as well as cutting the hedges around the base of the pylon and along the edge of the car park to ensure the safety of the workers and allow access for the replacement of parts on the pylon.

We are hopeful that the new nest boxes will provide a suitable alternative for the kestrels once the pylon box is removed, meaning we can all still enjoy their antics and the National Grid can undertake their essential maintenance works.

While the work to clear the vegetation is being undertaken this winter and during the works in summer themselves there will be restricted access to the car park. As soon as we have confirmed dates for any of this work, we will let you know. But in the mean time please do let us know if you see the kestrels exploring or using the new boxes.

Kestrel watching proceedings with interest