Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mischievous Magpies


Polderweggebied, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

There was a charming article in the local newspaper yesterday evening about how a major re-development project in Utrecht is going to be held up becuase of a few magpies. I am not the greatest fan of magpies myself as I have seen their numbers increase, seemingly at the expense of the smaller song birds in the gardens. Indeed, it was a magpie which destroyed the nest and killed our blackbird family almost a year ago.

Anyway, back to Utrecht where they are wanting to develop and re-develop the area around the railway station. Included in this project is an area of land which at present has trees on it. The developers want to cut down the trees to make space for their heavy equipment, but they have not yet received permission from the local council to do so, although it seems that the local council is very willing to have the trees cut down, a sthey are in favour of the development project.

Well, despite the fact that the trees were drastically pruned a couple of months ago to stop this from happening, it turns out that the magpies have started nesting in the trees. And the law expressly forbids the cutting fo trees in which birds are nesting, even birds as evil as magpies. Somehow these birds managed to find places to build their nests and, as things stand, the trees will not be allowed to be cut down until the babies have fled the nests, holding the whole project up for a couple of months. Excellent!

The photo here is of an area behind our house, the other side of the Ringdijk canal where they hve been working for the past 2-3 years to clean the soil of all the pollution with which it has been contaminated, preparing the area for building nice new modern flats and shops, bars and restaurants, sports facilities and so on as well as restoring the facades to some of the 19th century industrial buildings which stood on the site. It was a real mess before and hopefully we will have something wonderful when the project is completed at the end fo next year.

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