Orchard Park’s Wildlife as part of “You Are Here” Exhibition

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The Collaborative Map of North Cambridge created at a range of workshops across the area

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It was a pleasure to see the depictions of Orchard Park’s wildlife on tiles, and all the other colourful exhibits, at the “You Are Here” exhibition by North Cambridge Artist in Residence Isabella Martin. Various artistic sessions in the North Cambridge area culminated in the Exhibition held on Friday and Saturday at the Church of the Good Shepherd off Arbury Road. For more details click: “You Are Here“. Last month Karen Thomas from Kettle’s Yard and artist Rosanna Martin came to oversee our artistic endeavours at our event in OP’s Orchard.

I attempted to photograph each and every wildlife tile shown at the exhibition – can you spot yours? They’re in the slideshow above, you can hit the ‘pause’ button when you get to your tile so you can take a longer look. We plan to ‘release the tiles into the wild’ – details will follow on the blog when we’ve finalised the plans, we’d like everyone to know where their tiles go.

I was particularly pleased to see Orchard Park on the Collaborative Map of North Cambridge (see the second photo above), created at the workshops across the area, represented entirely by wildlife we’ve found here. It’s such a positive way to portray our community. Up to 250 people attending the exhibition were able to print their own copy of the map. The map is informative, amusing, and pleasing to the eye, and I look forward to putting the 202nd print on my wall. You can click on the photo of the map to see it as a bigger image – of course, OP is top left.

Many thanks indeed to Isabella, Rosanna and Karen – we really enjoyed working with you, and we hope you enjoyed making your wildlife tiles.

 

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Sparrowhawk in OP Garden

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Sparrowhawk with Collared Dove prey, Orchard Park garden

I heard a new noise on Saturday in my garden. I always look when I hear something I can’t recognise from its call. To my surprise when I opened the curtains I saw the yellow eyes of a small bird of prey staring at me from my little tree. At first the bird appeared to be trapped amongst its tight, twisted branches, flapping around and seemingly unable to free itself. I closed the curtains briefly to think about how best to release it and wondered if it was sick or injured. When I opened the curtains again I realised the bird was absolutely fine, it had moved out of the tree and was holding down a struggling Collared Dove which I hadn’t noticed previously, it had obviously taken it in, or near to, my garden where lots of them congregate to take the food I put out. I was able to have a proper look at the bird of prey by now, as it was focussed only on finishing off the Collared Dove and plucking its feathers, and was not at all bothered by me just a couple of feet away. It was a Sparrowhawk. Over the course of an hour or so, I watched it pluck the feathers, then the meat off its prey. Quite gruesome, but it was also fascinating to see this beautiful and efficient killer so close up, I felt quite privileged, as this was happening outside my window, in Orchard Park!

Sparrowhawks can be seen all over the UK throughout the year. As this one has a brown back, it’s likely to be a female. Their scientific, or Latin name is Accipiter nisus and they belong in the family Accipitridae with other hawks and eagles.

More info on Sparrowhawks from the RSPB website:

“Sparrowhawks are small birds of prey. They’re adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are ideal hunting grounds for them. Adult male sparrowhawks have bluish-grey back and wings and orangey-brown bars on their chest and belly. Females and young birds have brown back and wings, and brown bars underneath. Sparrowhawks have bright yellow or orangey eyes, long, yellow legs and long talons. Females are larger than males, as with most birds of prey.

Where to see them

Sparrowhawks breed in woodland but also visit gardens and more open country. They can be seen in towns and cities, as well as rural areas. Listen for the alarm calls of smaller birds as they spot a sparrowhawk and will alert other birds in the area to the danger. In the UK sparrowhawks are found everywhere, except for parts of the Scottish Highlands, the Western Isles and Shetland.

When to see them

At any time of year; you might see birds displaying to each other in early spring, when males perform a ‘rollercoaster’ flight, climbing up and diving back down again to impress females.

What they eat

Mainly small birds, but 120 different species have been recorded. Males can catch birds up to thrush size, but females, being bigger, can catch birds up to pigeon size. Some sparrowhawks catch bats.

Population

Europe UK breeding* UK wintering* UK passage*
35,000 pairs

* UK breeding is the number of pairs breeding annually. UK wintering is the number of individuals present from October to March. UK passage is the number of individuals passing through on migration in spring and/or autumn.”

See Orchard Park’s Wildlife captured on your hand decorated tiles, in the follow up exhibition

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Does anyone recognise this tile? Looking forward to seeing all of them at the event 🙂

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We enjoyed our afternoon making tiles with Kettle’s Yard artists capturing the wildlife of our Orchard and Orchard Park more widely. We hope you did too. The tiles have now been fired and will soon be available to view as part of an exhibition. You can also make a print of our north Cambridge map. Do go along to see and take part 🙂

Details from Karen Thomas at Kettle’s Yard:

“As you will know, our 2016 Artist in Residence, Isabella Martin, and her supporting team of artists have been working with local groups and residents for the past nine months, gathering information for a new map.

We are delighted to tell you that the map is nearing completion and hope that you will be able to join Isabella at a temporary print studio where you can screen print your own copy of the map.

Isabella will be setting up a temporary print studio at Church of the Good Shepherd on Friday 25th November, 2pm – 7pm and Saturday 26th November, 11am – 5pm. This will be accompanied by an exhibition featuring artworks made by local residents and community groups during the residency and works from the Kettle’s Yard Collection.

We would like to invite all our Open House partners and project participants to a special celebration on Friday 25th November 5 – 7pm at the print studio. Please do pass this invitation on to participants.

Hope to see you soon!”