Last week I helped put some Swift nesting boxes on houses in Church Drive, Carrington….
We put a number of specially-designed nesting boxes (like this) under the eaves of several houses on the north-facing side of Church Drive….
The boxes will hopefully encourage the birds to nest. Swifts (Apus apus) are remarkable birds; supreme fliers which spend most of their lives in the air. They migrate here from central and southern Africa to breed, arriving in late April-early May. They have declined in number in recent decades, and a loss of suitable nesting sites is an important factor in this decline. Nest boxes fixed under house eaves can help reverse this.
The next boxes in Church Street were fundraised and fixed as part of a local community project called Swift Street, which aims to inspire local people about nature while helping the Swifts. It’s a great example of a small-scale wildlife project in the city, and particularly valuable because it brings nature right into the daily lives of people where they live – people in Church Street are talking about Swifts and looking at the skies now!
One of the nest boxes was fitted with a webcam, which will allow people to watch these fascinating birds in close detail if the box becomes occupied…..
There is also a plan to play recordings of Swift calls from windows near the boxes, to encourage the birds to investigate the new nest boxes. Let’s hope the boxes prove successful.
Thanks to Trish from Instar for the photos.
Dunkirk & Lenton Partnership Forum are organising a Wildflower Day next Tuesday, 14th April. Join them for a walk between green spaces in the area, whilst sowing bee-friendly wildflower seeds.
The walk itinerary is as follows…..
Church Square, Lenton, 1pm
Radford/Lenton Library Community Garden, 1:45pm,
Radford Recreation Ground, 2:15pm
Memorial Garden, Ilkeston Road, 3pm
At the end of the walk, there will be FREE bakery and craft stalls in the Memorial Garden, next to Radford Health Centre on Ilkeston Road – from 3pm. For more information on the event, ring 0115 958 8590.
I’ve admired simple pallet-based “invertebrate hotels” at a couple of locations before. Here’s another – albeit in need of some renovation – at the excellent Bulwell Forest Community Garden :
As ever, it’s good to see space being made for enhancing habitat for invertebrates.
I’ve applauded the managers of Bramcote Hills Park in the past for their positive attitude towards retaining deadwood as a habitat. I spotted another example on a recent visit….
This Sweet Chestnut trunk (identifiable as such by the distinctive spirals) has been retained as a feature, and will be add biodiversity value to the park – note the small white fungi colonising the spiral grooves, for instance. Every park should have features like this!
The City Council launched a new campaign this week, aiming to make Nottingham a better city for bees. Bee-Friendly Nottingham means the Council will undertake some positive land management for bees, as well as promote bee-friendly practices to residents. It’s a worthy initiative from the Council, and I hope it will succeed. Get involved!
The River Leen is much less known and celebrated than the Trent in Nottingham, but it is an important local river, with real wildlife value, and with many attractive stretches. It rises near Newstead, and flows south for about 15 miles until joining the Trent south of the City Centre. Here’s a map of the section in the city, from the Wildlife in the City River Leen page………
Although the river has been extensively altered, diverted and polluted in the past, it has a number of green spaces and wildlife sites along its banks, some of which are highlighted on the map above. It also hosts some significant species, mostly on its northern sections – Otters have been recorded, and there is a good population of Water Voles, which is Britain’s fastest declining wild mammal. The endangered White-Tailed Crayfish is also present in some sections of the river; it is a priority for action in the Notts Biodiversity Action Plan.
The Leen is the focus of various conservation efforts. Some culverted sections have been released, and efforts have been made to improve the water quality. There is also an ambitious project to create a sustainable transport corridor for walkers and cyclists along the city section of the Leen – the City Council’s Access and Biodiversity Study (which also has useful detailed maps of the river’s route). It will be great if this plan encourages people to use this “green corridor” whilst enhancing the biodiversity of the river….
Today marks the vernal equinox, sometimes regarded as the first day of spring. To celebrate the lengthening days, here’s a great close-up of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae), taken by Nic Cairns at St.Anns Allotments………
This is one of the most frequently seen British garden butterflies, and as one of the few species which hibernates as an adult (like the Peacock) is often spotted early in the year. Although it is common, it has declined somewhat in recent years; this is thought to be due to the introduction of a parasitic fly from Europe, whose range may be increasing due to climate change effects….
There are many things you can do in a garden or allotment to encourage butterflies – see here for some ideas.
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!
In Bramcote Hills Park, a 200-year old Beech Tree has fallen, and been allowed to stay in place. An enclosure has been created within which the large tree can slowly decompose naturally; the enclosure also forms an area of habitat for wildflowers.
It’s good to see a tree being left like this in a public park – fallen dead wood is too often removed in an urge to “tidy up”. Deadwood is extremely important for biodiversity, and it is often in short supply in our woodlands, so the way that this tree has been retained (and turned into an informative feature) is very welcome.
Nearby in the park, another dead Beech tree has been left unfelled as standing dead wood.
It seems Bramcote Hills Park has set a good example of thoughtful park management for conservation with these dead trees….
The recent sunnier weather has led to sightings of the Smooth Newt in ponds, as they take to the water to breed after their winter hibernation. Here’s some in a pond on Windmill Allotments in Radford…
Garden ponds are an important habitat for these miniature “water-dragons”, as well as being one of the best features to create in a garden for wildlife in general. Such ponds are especially attractive to newts if the pond is near suitable hibernation habitat, such as piles of logs or stones.