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Blue Hills development threatens birds – study- 4 March 2014

Blue Hills development threatens birds – study- 4 March 2014

BLUE HILLS – An updated version of the Grass Owl Sensitivity Survey for the proposed development on the corner of the R55 and Summit Road in Blue Hills has been released.

Lukas Niemand of Pachnoda Consulting conducted the study for Landscape Architects and Environmental Assessment Practitioners after a follow-up site visit on 8 November last year. The first

Tyrone Mckendry of the Greater Kyalami Conservancy took this photo of an African grass owl fleeing the flames of a veld fire in November last year in Blue Hills. The birds' nesting area is close to a property earmarked for development in Blue Hills.

Tyrone Mckendry of the Greater Kyalami Conservancy took this photo of an African Grass-Owl fleeing the flames of a veld fire in November last year in Blue Hills. The birds’ nesting area is close to a property earmarked for development in Blue Hills.

visit was on 21 May last year.

As reported in Midrand Reporter (Red data species habitat threatened, week-ending 21 November 2013), the property close to the proposed development site – which is home to a breeding pair of African Grass-Owls – was burnt in a veld fire. The owls have since returned, and Niemand has evaluated how development would impact the owls’ nesting area.

African grass owls’ survival is a concern as they are categorised as “vulnerable” in the National Red Data Book of Birds.

Niemand said the land for the proposed development did not provide suitable conditions for the species to breed or roost, although he acknowledged that two drainage lines along the west and south of the study site were suitable landscapes for the owls. He recorded that a pair of African grass owls inhabited a part of the property to the west of the study site.

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