Thames Water’s nature reserve at Crossness in east London is welcoming its newest residents, two baby barn owls, aptly named Plop and Flo.

The two new arrivals were ringed by experts who are pleased with the pair’s progress. The last time Crossness saw Barn Owls breed was in 2007, so the major expansion of the site doesn’t seen to have put them off.

Crossness is one of the largest sewage works in Western Europe and has seen barn owls breeding since 2005. The latest upgrades at the site include the treatment capacity being boosted by nearly half again, to cope with the amount of raw sewage which flows into the Thames though overflow outlets at times of heavy rainfall.

As well as the site’s increase in size, a wind turbine is also going to be installed, which will be able to power 1,000 homes. New reed beds are also being planted and it’s hoped that the works will be completed with the site running at full capacity sometime in 2014.

The manager of Crossness nature reserve, Karen Sutton stated:

“Fortunately the major upgrade work under way here has not put off our breeding barn owls. We put a number of new boxes up around the site to encourage them to set up home. Not only have the barn owls made themselves at home in the lower section of one box, but a family of kestrels have also set up home upstairs.”

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