Join us on 17 February at 10:00–14:00 to tidy up the Wildlife Area, Ring Fort Road, near the sports ground. As OPWP has informed on many occasions (see links below), litter is very dangerous to our wildlife. Please come along, even if you can spare just ten minutes, every single can/bag/bottle that is removed is helpful to our local wildlife. Being in the Wildlife Area, volunteering, and gentle exercise is good for you too 🙂 We hope to see you there.
Common 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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
This is why it’s important to keep it clean:
Many thanks to those who helped today. As well as litter picking we also removed some of the tree guards that were no longer helpful.
Look out for details of our next activity on 20 March.
Following on from the litter pick last weekend, we would like to spend a bit more time there to finish the tidying job we started. I’ve asked if SCDC can deliver some bags for recycling and litter picker sticks.
We’ll also be focussing on removing some tree guards around OP from trees and hedges. This activity is recommended in the OP Habitats Management Plan “When planted, tree guards were put around many of the trees. These guards are now redundant as the trees are more resilient against rabbit or deer browsing, and should therefore be removed. Likewise the wooden supports around the trees can be removed”.
Orchard Park offers a range of habitats for wildlife, we have grassland, hedges, trees, scrub etc. Where hedges are established they offer great habitat for a range of wildlife including the Dunnock, a bird in decline in the UK which is subject to a Biodiversity Action Plan. As mentioned previously, the little brown bird around OP which most people think is is sparrow, is probably a Dunnock. In the winter, hedges provide berries for birds, and in the summer, they provide food for invertebrates. They also provide ‘corridors’ to allow animals such as the Hedgehog to move around. It is important our hedgerows are managed as well as possible for wildlife. Our activities on 21st will help with this.
We were hoping to be able to do some pruning of the apple trees in the Orchard on 21st February, but this will now be done in March when experts are available.
Please join us on 21st February for as little or long as you can – we’ll meet at the Wildlife Area at 10:00 and depending on how many people there are, all move on, or have a group move around OP working on the hedges. Please phone 07902 454367 to find us.
A little later than planned, here is the Draft Activity Plan for Orchard Park Wildlife Project for 2016. We have set dates and some times for activities coming up in the next few months. All activities are based on the recommendations in the Orchard Park Habitats Management Plan written for us by the Wildlife Trust for Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. There is scope to add or change activities, and we hope to build on the helpful collaborations leading to enjoyable events this last year or two. All activities are subject to appropriate approval and sourcing appropriate expertise and equipment. Times and dates may be subject to change, so, please keep an eye on the Orchard Park Wildlife and other Facebook groups, as well as here on the blog and Twitter where final details will be confirmed closer to the date.
We hope there is something for everyone. You’re always welcome to join us for a little or long as you are able whilst we try to help the wildlife on our doorstep from the bees, butterflies and moths, to the hedgehogs, herps and bats.
There are also many national wildlife campaigns taking place again this year:
to name but a few…. We’ll let you know as new dates are released so that you have the information you need to contribute to local and national wildlife conservation efforts through citizen science.
If there is an activity that you’d like to do but don’t see, then please get in touch, we’d like to hear from you.
Looking forward to doing our bit again for the wildlife of Orchard Park 🙂
I was saddened and disgusted to see this mess yesterday. What hope for our future if this is how children are treating the Orchard Park Wildlife Area? Is this really your attitude towards the environment, is it your children’s?
Listen to an excerpt of a talk by Mary Barrow, formerly a senior nurse at Shepreth Hedgehog Hospital, and now at Befriend a Hedgehog, advising about the problems litter causes to hedgehogs and other wildlife.
PLEASE educate your children to respect wildlife and the environment. Send them along to some of OPWP’s activities, so they can learn about the local wildlife that lives here, begin to appreciate it, and find out what they can do to help.
Pied wagtail in OP photo credits: Tim Inskipp
Pied Wagtails were the first birds I saw in any number when I moved to Orchard Park, and the first to arrive in my garden.
The RSPB describe them as “A delightful small, long-tailed and rather sprightly black and white bird. When not standing and frantically wagging its tail up and down it can be seen dashing about over lawns or car parks in search of food. It frequently calls when in its undulating flight and often gathers at dusk to form large roosts in city centres.”
A fitting description. I passed one yesterday on the way to the busway, and it reminded me of the large roost I saw over on the grass at the entrance to the sports ground in 2012 when I moved here. They appeared for a few consecutive days, but I haven’t seen them roosting since then – they’re here all year round – does anyone else see the roosts?
They occur in a wide range of habitats. This time last year Pied Wagtails were the BTO bird of the month, they are declining in watery areas of their habitat – near canals and rivers. They feed on both ground and aerial invertebrates such as flies and caterpillars. In winter when these food sources are scarce they supplement their diet with seeds.
The next activity being organised with the Community Centre is an Orchard Park and Wildlife Area and surrounds litter pick Saturday, December 5th from 10 – 12:30. I’ll be at the entrance to the Wildlife Area at 10am to meet anyone who wants to help there. Please contact Lewis at the Community Centre for more details of the wider litter pick – the Community Centre are offering a light lunch for volunteers after the pick.
The seeds planted on 12th April have been watered by the April showers, and are now growing into seedlings. The cover looks pretty good, so there should be a great and colourful display soon. They’ll be attractive to us, and to bees and other insects too. I look forward to seeing them in bloom.
However, sadly, yet again there is a litter problem in the area. The bin was almost empty this morning so that is not an excuse for leaving litter strewn around. Click on the play button on the video below to see what some of the planted area and the area behind the seedlings looks like.