From my studio I have a grandstand view of the new allotments, now transformed from the previous bramble patch. I like see it all taking shape, especially watching the bird life adapting to the new plots.
Prior to the clearance I saw mostly house sparrows, dunnocks, blackbirds and woodpigeons using the bramble patch plus, on one notable occasion, two bullfinches.
The breakthrough has been the marking out of the new plots, combined with intermittent digging by the plot owners. This has two benefits for the birds. Firstly, turning over the soil makes the birds’ food more accessible. Secondly, the marker posts are perfect perches. My peak count at any one time is one blackbird, two robins and a little owl each using the posts as a vantage point.
The little owl, in particular, sits on a post, drops down to pick up a tasty morsel, flies up to the next post and continues, working its way around the allotments. Of course, all this happens while the allotments are deserted and nature is left to reclaim the land.
So it’s not just people who benefit from the goal of “grow your own”, wildlife does too. But a final word of warning to the allotmentees: cover your new plants, or the greatest beneficiaries are going to be the most regular feathered visitors – the woodpigeons!