Snail Species Found in the OP Wildlife Area during the event with Cambridge University Zoology Museum

Eating the bird seed in my garden.

Eating the bird seed in my garden.

Alicia from Cambridge University Zoology Museum Outreach Department has been in contact to let us know the identifications from the batch of snail shells they collected with us in April at Orchard Park. Click on the links to learn more about each species from the The Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and other authorities.

Cornu aspersum – Garden Snail –

Monarcha cantiana – Kentish Garden Snail –

Cochlicopa lubrica – Glossy Pillar Snail –

Oxychilus cellarius – Cellar Glass Snail –

Aegopinella nitidula – Smooth Glass Snail –

Cernuella virgata – Vineyard or Striped Snail –

 They’ve finished the count now and the artists Ackyrod and Harvey will be starting on the wall on the new Zoology Museum any time soon. They wanted 300 shells and they’ve got almost 3000 (!) to include in the installation which will provide new homes for urban wildlife –

Autumn Activities for Wild About Gardens Week


In preparation for our Charity Pot event at Lush on Saturday during Wild About Gardens Week, here is a collection of crafty Autumn and Hedgehog activities. Encouraging children to engage with wildlife through art and crafts can foster a sense of wonder and caring for our wild creatures and their habitats. Most of these activities can be done with things you’ll already have around the home.

Themed crafts and activities:



Photography and Hedgehogs (RHS competition)

British Wildlife

How well do you know our spiny visitors?

how well do you know pages 2 and 3

Photo credit: Wild About Gardens Week

We’re now into day two of Wild About Gardens Week (26 October – 1 November) and what a soggy day it is. Still, it might encourage slugs, snails and worms out into our gardens for the hedgehogs, this year’s star of Wild About Gardens Week, so they can have a pre hibernation feast. To see how citizen science is informing us of hedgehog hibernation patterns see: hibernation report

Don’t forget to look in any bonfires you might be lighting for Halloween and Guy Fawkes night to check for wildlife. If you find an animal please make sure you move it a safe distance away.


Photo credit: British Hedgehog Society on Twitter

Small creatures like piles of wood and leaves for shelter, so why not help them in your garden by providing a pile just for them? Other things we can do as recommended in the Wild About Gardens Week Hedgehog Handbook include:

1. Create ‘hedgehog highways’ in your fences to connect your gardens.

2. Provide an escape route out of ponds – ‘hogs are great swimmers but they struggle to climb out.

3. Create a variety of habitats e.g. ponds, hedges, log piles and compost heaps to attract food for the hedgehog.

4. Build a hedgehog home – give them somewhere to hunker down for the winter.

5. Let your grass grow wild (or even a section of it) to encourage the hedgehog’s prey. Check carefully before mowing or strimming areas.

6. Create nesting opportunities – leave wild areas for ‘hogs to hibernate.

7. Set up a feeding station offering hedgehog food or meaty pet food and water.

8. Tidy up – litter harms wildlife, and hedgehogs can also become entangled in garden netting.

9. Keep domestic drains covered, hedgehogs can fall into them and get stuck.

10. Check bonfires before lighting; ideally rebuild them on the day it is to be lit.

11. Keep your gardens green – paving and decking over gardens reduces hedgehog habitat.

These activities are most beneficial if we work together as a community. For the full text of the Wild About Gardens Hedgehog Handbook go to: Hedgehog Handbook

Orchard Park Wildlife Project will be in Lush, Lion Yard on Saturday 31 October from 12-4pm to give wildlife gardening tips. Come along and make a pledge to help our local wildlife, there’ll be wildlife colouring for children, and find out how to enter a photo competition to win hedgehog prizes – Royal Horticultural Society Hedgehog Photo Comp. Lush are also very kindly fundraising again for Orchard Park Wildlife Project – if you buy their Charity Pot on Saturday, proceeds will go towards equipment for Orchard Park Wildlife Project’s activities. We are very grateful to Lush once again for their generosity.

Delighted to have had a visit from five or six long tailed tits

I just heard a new noise outside my window and looked up to see five or six long tailed tits flying around my tiny garden and landing on the willow tree. They’re beautiful and wish they had stopped a few minutes longer so I could have tried to take a photo.

I thought I saw some in the trees lining the car park of the Premier in a year or so ago, but I couldn’t see them closely. This time I was able to see them clearly and hear their call.

To find out more look at: RSPB Long Tailed Tit

From the Wildlife Trust BCN: Dr Norman Moore – a life remembered

I was saddened to hear the news that Dr Norman Moore had died aged 92. When I worked for the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), I had the pleasure of working with Norman on the IUCN/SSC Dragonfly Action Plan. He was a lovely man and I enjoyed working and talking with him. I used to be a very keen roller skater and I remember him telling me all about the ice skating on the fens. As well as being an authority on dragonflies, Norman was pivotal in the banning of DDT. He was also the Vice Chair of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire – to read more about him see their article:

Going quiet

OPWP project activities, blog, and tweets are going quiet for a little while due to family emergency. October’s orchard activity will be postponed, we might be able to do some apple tree management in November. There are plenty of ideas on the website to help wildlife in the meantime. Normal service will resume asap.

Wild About Gardens Week – focussing on Hedgehogs


Gardening for wildlife!

This year’s Wild About Gardens week will run from 26 October – 1 November 2015 and will focus on gardening for hedgehogs. These amazing little creatures could be extinct in the UK if we don’t help – there are thought to be fewer than 1 million hedgehogs in the UK today, and they’ve declined by 30% in just ten years. Our gardens in Orchard Park are great for hedgehogs as many don’t have solid garden fences which block their access – instead our connected gardens can form ‘hedgehog highways’. We can feed hedgehogs, provide a home, and reduce potential dangers to them. If we work together as a community, we can help hedgehogs, and other wildlife in our neighbourhood.

For detailed guidance and fun activities see: Hedgehog Booklet and Wild About Gardens

Lush are very kindly holding another Charity Pot Party fundraiser for Orchard Park Wildlife Project – we will be in the Cambridge store on Saturday 31st October between 12-4pm – we’ll be sharing Wild About Gardens Week’s wildlife advice and asking people to pledge to do something wild in their garden. Come and say hello to us and the lovely folks at Lush 🙂