Ecologists working on the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area (ASEA) Ecological Mitigation and Flood Defence project are thrilled to have discovered three new barn owl chicks at Hallen Marsh, north of Bristol. Lead ecologist Kath Thorne and ornithologist Ed Drewitt found the feathery trio last week, nesting in one of two boxes they had installed.
Work at Hallen Marsh is part of the project’s creation of a minimum of 80 hectares (the equivalent of around 112 football pitches) of new wetland habitats for the internationally important Severn Estuary’s bird species
Kath said: “We installed the owl boxes away from our new wetlands working area in disused buildings and a nearby tree so they could nest without being disturbed. We are all so pleased and excited that the owls have successfully raised these three chicks.“
Kath and Ed have since ringed, weighed and determined the age of the chicks. They will send the records to the British Trust for Ornithology
Along with the new wetlands, the £80m ASEA Ecological Mitigation and Flood Defence project will provide 17km of improved flood defences when complete in 2026/2027, from Lamplighters Marsh in the south to Aust in the north. The defences will supplement existing flood barriers and help protect the area from the increased risk of flooding from climate change and rising sea levels, reducing flood risk to around 2,500 homes and businesses.
The project will boost the regional and national economy by enabling development within the 1,800 hectare Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area, helping to unlock 12,000 new jobs by 2026.
Header image: Lead ecologist Kath Thorne with one of the baby barn owls.