The following are taken directly from the email newsletter from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), written by Claire Boothby, Garden BirdWatch Development Officer. They feature information on the Goldfinch, a bird commonly seen in Orchard Park, Waxwings seen in large numbers early this year in the nearby Science Park, and how to attract birds to your garden.
At the penultimate summer event with the Youth Group, one of the raised beds was painted and potted up. We’re planning work with the 1st Cambridge Scout Group to ensure it’s maintenance. The addition of Ivy means that pollen and nectar will be available as late as possible into the season for honey bees and other pollinators. Thank you to the Youth Group, Orchard Park Community Council, and Education Services 2010 for making this project possible.
Orchard Park Wildlife Project will add some educational signs to the raised beds very soon.
For background information on this project, the importance of pollinators and more on how to help them see previous blog post: Sowing Seeds
Many thanks indeed again to Peter Pilbeam, Pat and Alan of Cambridgeshire Mammal Group for setting the traps around Orchard Park, and to Tim and Carol Inskipp for identifying everything we came across.
Many thanks too to everyone who came along. We hope you enjoyed it.
Bank Vole Myodes glareolus
Common Swift Apus apus
Feral Pigeon Columba livia
Magpie Pica pica
Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Early Bumblebee Bombus pratorum
Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum
Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius
White/Buff-tailed Bumblebee (not possible to separate these species at this time of year, except for Queens)
Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella
Shaded Broad-bar Scotopteryx chenopodiata
Eggar sp. Lasiocampa sp.
Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina
Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus
Common Red Soldier Beetle Rhagonycha fulva
7-spot Ladybird Coccinella 7-punctata
Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus
Roesel’s bush–cricket Metrioptera roeselii
Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus
Southern Hawker dragonfly Aeshna cyanea
Brown-lipped Snail Cepaea nemoralis
Web Nursery Spider Pisauris mirabilis
Black Ant sp.
Walnut Leaf Gall Aceria erinea
Lime Nail Gall Eriophyes liliae
For more information see: Orchard Park’s Third Summer Safari Sunday 9 July 5.30-7.30pm
Last Thursday Andrew Chan from Orchard Park Community Council showed members of the Youth Group how to set up self watering pots to sow seeds. Sunflowers, and wildflowers for pollinators were planted, along with cucumber and sweetcorn for people.
Once the seeds are sprouting, they’ll be moved to the new raised beds which will be installed at the Orchard Community Centre soon. We hope lots of locals will get involved with tending the beds which will grow flowers and food plants. We’ve had funding kindly donated for the beds by the Orchard Park Community Council, tools we need to look after them by Education Services 2010 and Young People’s Workers from the Council are leading the activities.
Over the summer we will be doing a series of sessions to create a home for pollinators, and to make and plant the raised beds. We’d really like you to join us if you’re aged between 10 and 17 years old at the following sessions at the Orchard Community Centre:
Monday 31st July from 2pm to 4pm – Making a Bug Hotel
Thursday 17th August from 3.30pm to 5pm – creating and painting the beds
Thursday 24th August from 3.30pm to 5pm – creating and planting the beds
In the meantime for folks of any age, do get in touch if you’d like to help, learn, or have gardening knowledge to share 🙂
Bees and butterflies are declining due to habitat loss amongst other reasons, so it is important to do whatever we can to help. Click the link below to see a video on pollinators by Butterfly Conservation Plant Pots for Pollinators Video from Butterfly Conservation.
Using things like yoghurt pots is great way to repurpose, and these self watering planters provide everything the seeds need to get going. Coir dehydrated compost disks were rehydrated, a wick made from kitchen cloth was threaded through the holes in the small plant pot, and a few centimetres of water put in the bottom of the yoghurt pot – the kitchen cloth pulls the water into the pot to water the seedling. Coir dehydrated compost is an environmentally friendly choice because it is peat free (see why go peat free) for more info on coir see: Eden Communities Gardening
Wednesday 29 March 17:00 – 19:30 hrs
The Orchard Community Centre, Central Avenue, Orchard Park, Cambridge, CB4 2EZ
Cambridgeshire Constabulary are holding a crime prevention event at Orchard Park community centre to highlight security improvements that residents can make to protect their homes and reduce opportunist crime.
Officers and staff will be available to provide advice and information. A senior officer will be providing a crime prevention seminar at 6.30p.m.
There will also be security products available at a discounted rate, as well as information about property registration and coding.
Neighbourhood teams will be patrolling and visiting local streets, to increase security awareness.
Please come along to find out more (Source: https://southcambscops.org/2017/03/22/op-hunter-security-event-orchard-park/)
Orchard Park Wildlife Project will be there to advise on plants that can help with security at the same time as being beneficial to wildlife – idea by Kate Parsley.
Plants recommended for their defensive properties on the Crime Prevention Website that also benefit wildlife
Shrubs and small trees
Please note the top of the table is not showing all of the information. Scroll down to the link for a PDF complete version
|Plant and defence grade (1st-3rd)1||Defensive Properties1||Flowers / berries||Height1, type, and how to plant||Wildlife benefits|
|All Berberis are spiny and make excellent barrier hedges||Deciduous varieties have good autumn colour, flowers April-May, has berries2||3m Best planted in a group with other shrubs. An evergreen, it prefers full sun and a moist soil, growing slowly2||Food and shelter
B. thunbergii can provide berries into autumn and winter2
Birds are attracted to the berries, whilst the thorns provide a barrier for safe nesting sites2
|Japonica, Japanese Quince
|A thorn-bearing shrub with white flowers that is often wall trained||Attractive red or orange spring flowers which are followed by sizeable yellow fruit3||2m A thorny, spreading shrub that can be allowed to do its own thing. Will tolerate some shade3||Food: flowers and berries3
Birds eat fruit and use dense branches as protection and nest sites.
Flowers attractive to bees and bumblebees3
Provides nectar and pollen for solitary bees4
(1 extremely effective)
Crataegus prunifolia a compact variety
(1 extremely effective)
|Ideal hedge barrier, thorny and dense||White flowers in late spring followed by bright red berries5||7+m Tolerates a wide variety of conditions, including polluted and exposed sites5A||Food and shelter5
Blackbird, Bluetits, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Crows, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Robin, Starlings, Waxwings etc feed on berries5
Black Veined White Butterfly caterpillar food plant. Flowers also visited by adult butterflies seeking nectar: Brimstone, Chinese Character, Grey Dagger, Lackey, Lappet, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Light Emerald, Mottled Beauty, Mottled Pug, Swallowtailed, Vapourer and Yellow-tail Moth food plant. Small Eggar Moth food plant when hedges left untrimmed in summer5
Host to innumerable insects5
Small mammals e.g. mice, bank voles and foxes take berries5
(2 very effective defense)
|Ideal for barrier plantings||Male and female flowers are on separate shrubs; for a female shrub to produce berries, it must be pollinated by a male growing nearby6||2m Grows in any soil and copes well with full sun or shade6||Food and shelter6
Bees and bumblebees collect its nectar and pollen.
Caterpillars of the holly blue butterfly eat buds and flowers.
Birds: Thrushes, Robins, Dunnocks, finches etc. use it for nesting as it provides excellent protection.
Blackbirds, thrushes etc. eat berries.
Hedgehogs, small mammals, toads and slow worms hibernate in deep leaf litter that builds up beneath it6
(2 very effective defense)
|Low growing shrub with spiny leaves||Clusters of bright yellow flowers are produced in spring, followed by spherical, blue-black berries7||1.5m Vigorous, suckering shrub that can cope with most soils and thrive in shady spots where many other plants succumb7||Food7
Nectar and pollen may be taken by Blackcaps, Bluetits and House Sparrows. Berries eaten by Blackbirds and Mistle Thrushes7
Excellent early-flowering nectar source for bees and bumblebees.
Bright-line Brown-eye, Cabbage and Peppered Moth caterpillar food plant7
|New Zealand Holly
(3 effective defense)
|Shrub for exposed sites, with silver-toothed leaves||Clusters of white, fragrant, daisy-like flowerheads8||1.5m Sun-loving plant which is hardy in warmer parts of the country. It tolerates wind, and do well in towns8||Food8
Flowers are attractive to bees and many species of fly8
(1 extremely effective)
|Excellent dense defensive shrub or small tree.||Snowy white blossom appears in very early spring before the leaves and is followed in late autumn by the purplish-black fruits10||1.8m Very tough and tolerant of most soils and situations, including wet, exposed sites10||Food and Shelter9
Flowering, blackthorn provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees in spring. Its foliage is a food plant for the caterpillars of many moths, including the Lackey, Magpie, Common Emerald, Small Eggar, Swallow-tailed and Yellow-tailed. Also used by Black and Brown Hairstreak butterflies.
Birds nest among the dense, thorny thickets, eat caterpillars and other insects from the leaves, and feast on the berries in autumn9
(2 very effective defense)Dog RoseRosa caninaField rose
Rosa arvensisIt is illegal to plant Rosa rugosa in the wild or allow it to ‘escape’!11
|Dense and thorny vegetation||Flowers||2-9m dependent on variety. Old-fashioned varieties are fragrant and disease-resistant11||Food and flowers11
Hybrid tea roses, are also useful addition11
Fruits popular with birds.
Wide range of insects attracted to the flowers including bees and butterflies11
(1 extremely effective)
|Superb barrier shrub||Small yellow flowers12||1.5m Grows well on poor dry soils1||Food and shelter12
Nest sites for birds, important for invertebrates12
Refuge for birds in harsh weather. In flower for long periods – an important nectar source in early spring and early winter, when little else is in flower12
Idea by Kate Parsley, Chair, OPWP
Please note some of the information at the top of the table is obscured due to the automatic layout of the webpage. To see a full PDF version of the table, click here: table summarised
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.
We had a great time on Saturday afternoon with Kettle’s Yard celebrating our orchard and its wildlife. Our tiny ‘Spartan’ apples are very cute. If we feed the trees and ensure they’re looked after properly we may be rewarded with larger crops in the future. Many thanks to Kate, Scott, Giovanna, and two Andrews for between them buying, washing, chopping, macerating and pressing apples, so we could appreciate fresh juice, and dealing with all the tidying up! Thanks are also due to Histon and Impington Community Orchard Project for lending us their equipment.
Many children enjoyed decorating tiles, with Karen Thomas from Kettle’s Yard and artist Rosanna Martin, to depict some of the 200 different types of animals and plants we’ve identified so far in the orchard and around Orchard Park. They will be fired and placed around Orchard Park as part of artist Isabella Martin’s ‘You Are Here’ project whilst she is artist in residence for North Cambridge. Thanks for letting us look at our wildlife through an artistic lens, and we look forward to the next phase 🙂
Many thanks to Kate from OPWP for going to Cambridge University Botanic Garden’s Apple Day today to identify the variety of apples in Orchard Park. We now know around OP we have the Ribston Pippin and the Spartan, both eating apples. We hope you’ll join us at our event on 29th October 1-4pm with Kettle’s Yard, and Inder’s Kitchen to celebrate our Orchard and its wildlife. Juicing, chutney making, and OP’s Orchard Wildlife, free, fun, informative and accessible. For details see: Next event at the Orchard – Saturday 29 October 2016 1-4pm
According to the Trees of Antiquity website:
“Ribston Pippin originated in Yorkshire, England, around 1700 as a dessert apple, and was grown from three apple pips (seeds) sent from Normandy to Sir Henry Goodricke of Ribston Hall at Knaresborough, in Yorkshire, in 1709. Only one seed germinated and matured. The original tree was blown down in 1810, but was propped up and lived until 1928. This is a highly esteemed Victorian dessert apple. Ribston Pippin is also referred to as the Glory of York. Juicy, firm deep cream-colored flesh has an intense, rich, aromatic apple flavor, along with an intense sharpness. Skin striped red over greenish-yellow, with russet patches. Parent of the famous Cox’s Orange Pippin. Consider Grimes Golden, Liberty and/or White Pearmain for pollination. Triploid.”
The provenance of the Spartan is less well understood. The Garden Action website says:
“This variety was purpose bred in Canada for commercial use. Remarkably even though the apples were bred under controlled conditions, the parentage is not known. Originally the apple was thought to be cross between McIntosh and Newton. Now however, genetic testing has proved that Newton was not one of the parents. McIntosh, yes, Newton definitely not!….
The apple flesh is white and crispy with lots of juice if eaten straight off the tree.”
The report and findings
The first State of Nature report released in 2013 revealed the severe loss of nature that has occurred in the UK since the 1960s. Last week, the 2016 follow on report was released (see: State of Nature 2016 full report pdf).
Amongst other headlines, this one stood out as a point that is perhaps surprising to some – often declines in wildlife are thought of as happening overseas, not on our doorstep:
“A new measure that assesses how intact a country’s biodiversity is, suggests that the UK has lost significantly more nature over the long term than the global average. The index suggests that we are among the most nature-depleted countries in the world.” (State of Nature 2016 p.6).
“7% of urban species are threatened with extinction from Great Britain.” (State of Nature 2016 p.40).
The causes for such decline include policy-driven agricultural change as by far the most significant driver, and climate change as one of the greatest long-term threats to nature globally. Other factors driving decline such as loss of green space including parks, allotments and gardens, and loss of habitats such as wildlife rich brownfield sites to development, are things that we can witness right here in Orchard Park. Many gardens here are paved over with little to help wildlife, we have no allotments, the sports field seems sterile, the Wildlife Area seems tiny, whilst the remaining established, large grassland site which is rich in invertebrates, birds, and lizards, is due for commercial development.
Why is this important?
“We have a moral obligation to save nature and this is a view shared by the millions of supporters of conservation organisations across the UK. Not only that, we must save nature for our own sake, as it provides us with essential and irreplaceable benefits that support our welfare and livelihoods.” (State of Nature 2016 p.6).
“Two recent research projects have now built on … methodology to understand children’s connection to nature in more detail…children who are more connected to nature rate their health and well-being as significantly higher.” (State of Nature 2016 p.67).
What can we do?
Whilst as individuals and families we might feel powerless to do anything about, for example, farming practices, we can be effective at a local level.
“…organisations, businesses, communities and individuals have worked together to bring nature back…We are fortunate that the UK has thousands of dedicated and expert volunteers recording wildlife. It is largely thanks to their efforts, and the role of the organisations supporting them, that we are able to chart how our nature is faring.” (State of Nature 2016 p.6).
“Taken collectively, there is increasing evidence that citizen science is playing a central role in recruiting and training the next generation of nature enthusiasts; communicating the beauty and relevance of the UK’s wildlife to wide sectors of UK society; and catalysing positive attitudes and behaviours towards nature. In the face of growing concerns about a decline in taxonomic expertise and a disconnect from nature amongst the UK’s population, this involvement in citizen science gives real cause for optimism.” (State of Nature 2016 p.69).
Orchard Park Wildlife Project sends its species records to Cambridge and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre to add to their regional assessments of our wildlife. You can help by joining in our Summer Safaris and being a Citizen Scientist – reporting bee, butterfly and bird sightings using links to campaigns promoted via the Orchard Park Wildlife Project blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed and letting us know about anything unusual that you see.
You can do your bit in your garden/balcony/window box by creating a pond, feeding the birds, building a log pile and adding wildlife friendly plants.
You can help keep the Wildlife Area tidy, manage our Wildflower Bank, help at the Orchard, or keep basking sites clear for reptiles at the Balancing Pond.
Every little helps. See: Wildlife Trust page for more ideas.
We hope some of our upcoming activities will tempt you to come along and inspire you to do your bit for your nature if we’ve not managed to reach you already. We’re working on an approach to an event for information at the Orchard with local resident artists, which we hope will attract new people – more about that soon. I’m attending a Network for Nature event on Saturday, it’s at the David Attenborough Building in Downing St which houses Cambridge Conservation Initiative (focussing on international conservation) and Cambridge Conservation Forum (focussing on local conservation, Orchard Park Wildlife Project is a member). The closing speech is scheduled to be given by the building’s namesake himself, and I hope and expect that he will be very inspiring indeed.