Tag Archives: Parks & Open Spaces


Nic Cairns keeps the excellent photos coming….here’s one of a Jay (Garrulus glandarius), not the easiest bird to spot and photograph….


Jays are the most colourful of the British corvid species, and are thought to play an important role in the distribution of oaks – they feed on acorns, and may collect and hoard thousands in the autumn, some of which will be forgotten and germinate.  Wollaton Park, where this Jay was photographed, is ideal habitat for these attractive birds.


Mandarin Duck

Another  fine photo from Wollaton Park, courtesy of Nic Cairns.  A male Mandarin Duck, Aix galericulata :

IMG_1470mandarin duckLR

Like some other ducks I’ve featured, the Mandarin isn’t native; it has been kept in ornamental parks, but has escaped and established itself in the wild.  It definitely seems at home the parkland of Wollaton.

Courting Herons

Here’s a fine picture of a pair of Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) in courtship mode :


Thanks to Nic Cairns, who took the photo at Wollaton Park.

Crow with a can

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.

Tufted Duck

I’ve been away from the computer for a few weeks, but back today with a photo from regular contributor Viv Crump – a female Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) :

Tufted Duck (female )

Thanks to Viv for the photo, which was taken out of town at Rufford Abbey Country Park.

Dead Chestnut at Bramcote Hills Park

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!

Fall and rise again….

Here’s an interesting tree, photographed in the woodland at Bramcote Hills Park….


It’s a fallen Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) that is very much alive; enough roots have remained anchored into the soil so that a side branch from the original trunk has been able to grow vertically to form a new trunk.  There’s no reason why this downed tree should not continue to thrive for many years to come.

Urban Safari report…..

Thanks to Martin of the Wildlife Trust’s Nottingham City group, who sent in the following report of the “Urban Safari” they held on the 27th of September……

Urban safari 2014-page1

It sounds like a very good event, and I look forward to hearing more about the activities of the group…..


The River Leen

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….


Less mowing, more diversity

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…..


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 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!