Yesterday I found myself being invited to Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, to watch F1 testing. I have to admit I know very little about the F1 scene, so it was good to go and do something new and see what's what.
Gloriously as this is testing, not Race Day (July 6th), the place was quiet and we were able to wander about at will, no queues for the loos and chip van.. a must for me!
My companion has connections with Jenson Button, so here's 2 photos of the boy doing his stuff. His car is sponsored by EarthDream, a project for make F1 more environmentally friendly, so he gets my vote and of course raise his profile on my blog..........:-) !!!
We also had some flying things....... a very low unscheduled flypast by a Hunter aircraft, that woke the crowd up at 8.45am I can tell you.
But I hear you call, this is a Wildlife Blog BR, where's the wildlife?
Well this is why I'm writing this. I was fascinated by the birds on the Circuit. During the day while watching the cars, Rook, Carrion Crow, Kestrel, Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, House Martin and Swift were constantly present, and bunny's, though sadly I never saw a Hare. There is a healthy population on the Circuit.
The Swallows interested me. It may have been coincidence but when testing was taking place they were everywhere on the wing, and then when it stopped, they largely disappeared. Those F1 cars don't half make a racket, even with ear defenders on, so I began wondering why they flew more readily in this situation. All I can think of is that when the cars are out, the noise and vibration is such that it must lift insects up off the grass, and so the Swallows have learnt to take advantage of this feast. Plus the slipstream behind a 200mph car must cause chaos for weak flying insects, again easy pickings.
The Rooks and Carrion Crows also seemed to ignore what was going on. Quite a few times they only flew a few feet away as the cars approached, then back onto the verges to presumably pick up an insect casualty or two. Hopefully this spider didn't succumb though, it sat on my knee for ages watching and waiting.
Silverstone will never be a wildlife sanctuary, but what is there does seems to co-exist with the Petrol-Heads quite happily, and if you think about it, for 50 weeks of the year it's a quiet place, closed off to the public.