Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Harrington Airfield - A little bit of history and a couple of good birds.

With the prospect of a Great Grey Shrike and Short Eared Owl, I battled with the strong wind across the derelict Harrington Airfield.

Aerial View of Harrington

Construction of Harrington Airfield was started in 1942 and completed in 1944, requiring the movement of c210,000 cubic yards of soil, c860,000 square yards of concrete laid with one and three quarter million bricks and six miles of roadway formed. The airfield was constructed for use by B-17 Flying Fortresses but was actually used as a training base and for the "Carpet Baggers" Squadron who in 1944, supplied resistance groups in enemy occupied countries. After the war, some of the airfield was given back to farming but was rejuvenated between 1958 and 1963 as a base for Thor Rockets. The remaining derelict concret bunkers were the rocket launch pads.

More information can be found at

Unfortunately, the derelict bunkers are a sorry sight today -

The Carpet Baggers Memorial from the Bunkers

However, the area can be good for some excellent birding. Today, fleeting flight views of a Great Grey Shrike was my first this year and a Short Eared Owl hunted the rough grassland around the bunkers. Golden Plover are found in the surrounding arable fields with Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel also taking advantage of the habitat. Large numbers of Yellowhammers and Skylarks over. While waiting for the VERY mobile and elusive Great Grey Shrike, opportunity was taken to photograph a Kestrel.

And finally, a Sunflower


Mike Attwood said...

Interesting bit of WW2 history Kevin but where does the sunflower come in.

Kevin Groocock said...

Hi Mike - the sunflower is just a random pic amongst the derelict bunkers!