Keith Turner sent in this series of photos of a crow grappling with a discarded beer can on the Forest Recreation Ground :
This is a Carrion Crow, Corvus corone, a very familiar resident of all areas of the city. They are intelligent and curious birds, and will readily investigate interesting-looking objects – including, in this case, shiny litter.
Thanks to Keith for the photos. More examples of his work can be seen on his flickr page.
Some buildings were knocked down in Forest Fields earlier this year, in connection with a proposed development for a supermarket with residential flats above and accompanying car park. The plans have long been controversial, with many in the area opposed to them, and the site has not been touched since it was levelled and fenced off.
In the meantime, the site (consisting mostly of brick rubble and churned-up dust and soil) has started to be colonised by a variety of plants, both wild and garden escapes…..
I counted at least 20 different plant species that could be easily identified from the other side of the fence. It made me imagine possibilities for the site beyond what is proposed. I’m not sure that Forest Fields needs more shops, and although new homes are always needed, two good-sized semi-detached houses, in seemingly good condition, were demolished to clear the site (the remainder of the site was an old garage and workshop).
What is very lacking in Forest Fields, despite the rustic-sounding name, is green space. Although the Forest Recreation Ground is nearby, the area itself is characterised by dense terraced housing, with no green open spaces to speak of. Imagine if this cleared site was turned into a small, open park to create green space for both local residents and wildlife….that sounds much better than a supermarket to me.
Thanks to the folks at The Sumac Centre in Forest Fields, who sent this picture of an interesting insect seen in their garden :
It’s a Hawthorn Shield-Bug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale), the most commonly seen Shield-Bug. It will have recently emerged from hibernation to breed, and is often seen in gardens at this time of year. It’s more common in Southern England, but has been steadily expanding north in recent decades – perhaps due to climate change.
I found this interesting report about a foraging walk held last Sunday on the Forest Recreation Ground. The report is from the Building for the Future Blog, a good Nottingham blog, and contains several useful links to information about common foraging plants. A worthwhile read!
I recently saw this impressive Ivy plant (Hedera helix) growing on an old tree and wall in Forest Fields :
There aren’t many wild plants in flower at this time of year, but this Ivy was covered in flowers….
This profusion of late flowers is a valuable nectar source for insects, especially as the flowering period is quite broad – as the photo shows, there are flowers in various stages of development. When the flowers develop into berries, they are an important food supply for birds, being ripe in early spring, when other sources of nutrition are scarce. Ivy also provides excellent cover and habitat for birds, small mammals, bats and invertebrates throughout the year.
Whilst walking across Forest Recreation Ground, I noticed some areas in the less-well used parts of this popular park that had been left unmowed all summer to provide more diversity of habitat…..
It’s good to see areas like this left to increase biodiversity – there’s nothing especially notable in them, but they are much more diverse in species than the majority of the close-mown park. In cities, every bit of semi-natural habitat counts!