Hopes for 2018


We normally try to end the year on a positive note. However this time, I’m posting on the state of the Wildlife Area again. Whilst improved efforts by the OP Community Council and OP Wildlife Project (OPWP) to keep the area clean have made a positive difference overall these last few years, it’s still very disheartening to see littering and vandalism continuing to be major problems. These photos were taken on the 9th November when Andrew from the Community Council and I had a look around.

OPWP has given talks to OP School children and OP Scout Group about dangers of litter to wildlife (Litter at the Wildlife Area) and both have helped enormously with litter picks. We’d like to thank them for their efforts. It’s a shame to see them go to waste though when the area returns back to this state after a matter of weeks.

OPWP will be arranging more litter picks for next year and we’d be grateful to anyone that can get involved. Most folks that join in find litter picks strangely addictive and children generally really enjoy them.

The purpose of OPWP is simple: WE AIM TO MAKE ORCHARD PARK BETTER FOR PEOPLE AND WILDLIFE THROUGH COMMUNITY ACTION. There are benefits for volunteers too, and although this post is from someone based in the USA, the points raised are valid here in OP too: Benefits of volunteering Being in contact with nature has also been proven as beneficial to our health: Nature benefits. Free, fun and good for you, what’s not to like? Do join us.

After a series of successful collaborations with OP School in 2017, we will be running more sessions there again in 2018. We’ll be planning our events for the community soon too, and will post details here and on Facebook. Sadly last year turn outs to some community events were much lower than in previous years and our community planting for food and pots for pollinators projects had a slower start than we’d hoped (Raised bed at the Community Centre). The bug hotel was also destroyed Bug Hotel Destroyed.

We hope 2018 will be better in terms of community involvement but we really need your help to realise that.

We’d like to thank everyone that helped out last year either by collaborating, giving time, expertise, or financial support to the project.

Anyone that has something positive to bring in 2018 is very welcome to join us.


State of the UK’s Birds 2017

Blackbird near Orchard Park Wildlife Area

Blackbird near Orchard Park Wildlife Area

A report released today by Hayhow et al. (2017) and published by the RSPB confirms that Starlings, which appear common in Orchard Park, are actually undergoing major declines nationally. The long term trend for 1970-2015 shows an 81% decrease in their abundance, and for the 1995-2015 period, a 51% decrease in abundance.

Other birds seen regularly in Orchard Park such as the Great Tit, Robin and Goldfinch are increasing in abundance. Blue Tit abundance has shown little change from 1995-2015. Populations of Dunnock, a little brown job that many people think are House Sparrows, have declined over the longer term period, but increased from 1995-2015.

The full report can be found at: State of UK Birds 2017

It’s important that we do what we can to help our local birds by feeding them through winter, and by providing shelter and water. For ideas see:

Recycled Bird Feeders

From the BTO: Garden BirdWatch preliminary results, and attracting birds in Autumn

helping wildlife

You can also contribute data to such surveys by being a citizen scientist and taking part in the RSPB’s next Big Garden Birdwatch 27-29 January 2018. Registration opens 13 December 2017. See: Big Garden Birdwatch 2018