Take note of na­ture in your lo­cal patch

Bristol Post - - ENVIRONMENT - By Julie Do­herty, Peo­ple and Wildlife Pro­gramme Man­ager, Avon Wildlife Trust

BRIS­TOL is an at­trac­tive and na­ture-rich city. A place where ot­ters can be spot­ted in ur­ban parks, pere­grine fal­cons hunt across the city sky­line and foxes roam at night.

But what about the streets and neigh­bour­hoods of the city? What kind of wildlife is liv­ing in our gar­dens, al­lot­ments, school grounds and com­mu­nity green spa­ces? We asked Ben Barker of the My Wild Bed­min­ster project to tell us about the wildlife lo­cal peo­ple been dis­cov­er­ing south of the river.

“Early in 2017, a few mem­bers of the BS3

Wildlife Group asked them­selves ‘how many but­ter­fly species can we find in BS3 dur­ing the year?’

“The an­swer turned out to be 16, or rather, 15 and a mys­tery! The mys­tery was a blurry photo of a Small Blue (cu­pido min­imus) taken in Vic­to­ria Park. It wasn’t sup­posed to be there. A mis­taken iden­ti­fi­ca­tion? A hith­erto un­known colony? An adult blown off course? An egg brought in on a plant? These were among our the­o­ries.

“Re­sults from our 2018 wildlife sur­vey will soon be com­ing in and we will see if the Small Blue has been con­firmed along with lo­cal wildlife sight­ings of other but­ter­fly species, moths, hedge­hogs and drag­on­flies, all sub­mit­ted by lo­cal peo­ple.

“Seven­teen peo­ple took part in gar­den bird spot­ting over win­ter, not­ing com­mon birds like blue tits and black­birds, but also ur­ban rar­i­ties such as field­fare (sight­ings from five gar­dens in March and prob­a­bly driven into the city by the Beast from the East), siskin (three dif­fer­ent months in the same gar­den) and jay (seen in two gar­dens only which sug­gests a lesser pres­ence than in pre­vi­ous years). “BS3 is reck­oned to be one of Bris­tol’s least bio­di­verse neigh­bour­hoods, but al­to­gether 37 gar­den bird species were re­ported. “Last win­ter was our sev­enth gar­den bird sur­vey. We are be­gin­ning to build up a pic­ture of longer-term trends, so goldfinches re­main fairly com­mon, but there has been a de­cline in both chaffinches and green­finches. In­for­ma­tion is writ­ten up and cir­cu­lated lo­cally, as well as given to Avon Wildlife Trust and na­tional data or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“We are work­ing with lo­cal park and al­lot­ment groups, schools, Wind­mill Hill City Farm and gar­den­ers to make our area more wildlife friendly; of­fer­ing ad­vice on plant­ing, avoid­ing harm­ful chem­i­cals, mak­ing safe places for wildlife to hide and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

Ben is one of many wildlife cham­pi­ons around the city, work­ing with his lo­cal com­mu­nity to en­cour­age peo­ple to take no­tice of the na­ture in their lo­cal patch and take ac­tion to im­prove it. If you’re in­ter­ested in find­ing out more then you can email Ben at MyWildBed­min­ster@vir­gin­media.com or con­tact me – Avon Wildlife Trust’s Peo­ple and Wildlife pro­gramme man­ager, Julie Do­herty at Julie. do­herty@avon­wildlifetrust.org.uk

PHOTO: GEMMA DE GOUVEIA

Blue tit

PHOTO: IAN ROSE

Jay

PHOTO: NEIL ALDRIDGE

Goldfinch

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