Getting Batty about Bats again. Let’s Detect NEW DATE: 1 July 8.30pm

Pipistrellus_pipistrellus_lateral ccCommon Pipistrelle Photo by: Mnolf Location: Kauns, Tirol, Austria Date: 10.06.2005. Creative Commons.

Last year, we confirmed presence of Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) foraging at Orchard Park. We suspect we might have Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) foraging here too, as other bats were seen but not heard using the detector set to the frequency for Common Pipistrelle.

We detect bats using detectors which lower their high frequency calls inaudible to human ears – the frequency is dependent on the species of bat – to a lower frequency which we can hear.

Many thanks to #LushCambridge for their Charity Pot events which funded our bat detector.

The south edge of the long thin strip of Wildlife Area which runs parallel to the A14 embankment, and is to the north of the sports field, is ideal for insects around dusk, and so the bats go there to feed.

For a video about bats from the British Mammal Society, click here (this is a link to their videos on Facebook).

Due to poor weather on the 24th, this event has now been rescheduled for Friday 1st July – meet at the Wildlife Area, end of Ring Fort Road, CB4 (opposite Premier Inn) at 8.30pm with a blanket and some warm clothes, so you’re prepared to wait. Maybe a flask of tea if it’s a bit chilly. The bats come out at different times depending on the light and temperature.

We’ll show you how the detector works, have some recordings of UK bat species to play, show some pictures of UK species, and provide information on how you can help bats. If we’ve seen evidence of bats using the bat boxes in the week or so leading up to the event, we will try to film them. Please note: although the image shows a bat being handled, we won’t be handling them as a special licence is required, and it would be against the law.

This is a free, accessible event, for all ages and abilities.


Snaps of Two of Twenty Lizards, Spotted in Just One Hour on Sunday :)

We had much better weather yesterday morning than forecast, the sun was shining, and the clouds were few. We spotted twenty lizards yesterday in around an hour surveying the fence, mostly adult males, and a few subadults.

I wonder how many there are out there….

OPWP at the Market, Unwin Sq, 14 May


Orchard Park Wildlife Project has a stall at the new market on Unwin Sq (outside the shops) on Saturday 14 May. We hope you’ll come along to have a browse at what the other stalls have on offer, and visit the Wildlife Project to see how we’re helping our local wildlife, and find out how you can get involved with our activities. Play Wildlife Bingo for your chance to win a full bird seed feeder to hang out for our feathered friends – I’ll have some printed copies of the bingo cards with wildlife, plants and a wildlife home in Orchard Park that you’ll need to mark off when you’ve spotted them. Otherwise you’ll be able to print a copy off by clicking here  on Saturday morning. Please return copies of your completed bingo cards to me by 2.00pm at the stall on Saturday and write your name and contact details on the back. In the event several people have spotted the same number of things, I’ll fold them up, put the forms in a bag, and select one at random. You’ll be able to claim your seed feeder from me, or the Community Centre, whichever is most convenient 🙂


Wild South Cambs – Young Photographer of the Year at Parklife, Milton Country Park

Orchard Park Wildlife Project has been asked to take part in this year’s Wild South Cambs Zone (the first ever) at Parklife, Milton Country Park on Sunday 17th July 10.00am-6.00pm. Visitors can get hands on, with nest box and bug house building, pond dipping and den building amongst other wildlife activities.

As part of this: don’t miss your chance to be named Wild South Cambs – Young Photographer of the Year. You could take photos of Orchard Park’s gorgeous little lizards, colourful goldfinches, invertebrates, or the wild flower bank when it’s in full bloom.


Full details from the organiser’s website:

There’s a fantastic prize of a £200 voucher, kindly donated by Milton Tesco, (which could be spent on photographic equipment), for our winners village college.

We are looking for high quality digital images of the beautiful countryside to be found in South Cambridgeshire. Your image could capture animal or plant life, in close up or in landscape and can be orientated in landscape or portrait.

The competition is open to young people aged 11-18. You can send your images (up to three per entrant, each not less than 1MG in size) to the following mailbox,, putting Photographic Competition into the subject line.

Please include the following details: Your name, age, contact details and the date and location the photo was taken, plus the name of your school or college (including staff member contact details).

Selected images will be displayed on our website/Facebook and may be reproduced in district council publications. In entering your images you are agreeing to their reproduction by South Cambridgeshire District Council. The shortlisted images may also be displayed in store at Milton Tesco.

We are fortunate to have contributor to the Guardian’s Country Diary column, Derek Niemann, and experienced photographer Sarah Niemann as our competition judges.

The competition will close on Friday 15 July and the winner will be announced at Parklife, our free family fun day to be held at Milton Country Park on Sunday 17 July.

Parklife offers the chance to try a host of outdoor activities, from paddle boaring, canoeing and fishing, to cycling, climbing and cricket, with many more besides.

This year Parklife features a new, Wild South Cambs Zone, showcasing the conservation work underway across the district and featuring crafts using natural materials, pond dipping and tracts of wildflower meadows. Sponsored by Domino, the Wild South Cambs zone will help families get closer to nature.

More details can be found about the event on our Parklife 2016 pages.

For some tips on wildlife photography from the Guardian, click here, or contact Orchard Park Wildlife Project to help you locate our local wildlife.

Other OP Wildlife Springing into Action


First Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io) of the year, on the south facing bank parallel to A14

Adult Peacocks fly July to September, this one will have come out of hibernation. To find out more see UK Butterflies page: Peacock


Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) poking its head out of a Schwegler nest box, Chieftain Way

There is a lot of action around the nest boxes at the moment as the adult males and females come and go bringing food and leaving to fetch more for the chicks. I’ve had five or so at a time in the garden fighting over food. To find out more see the British Garden Birds page: Starling.

‘Ere there be lots of (teeny weeny) Dragons: Zootoca vivipara

A good number of us went out today to look for lizards between 10.00 and midday. The weather was warmer than forecast, and we saw a total of 16 lizards comprising males, females, and sub adults basking on the fence. We’ll be heading over again next weekend, weather permitting, do join us if you can.


Close up, adult male


Female with previous year’s young


Adult male


Adult  female


Adult male


Young female re-growing tail


Adult female


Adult male

Short video