BS3 Wildlife News

Winter Garden Birds

I hope that you are seeing some interesting birds. The recent snow may have driven some rural birds into the city in search of food and an extra degree or so of heat. I didn’t see anything particularly unusual, although Jo claims a redwing taking a bath in our pond. How about you?

The My Wild Bedminster, 2019 project is developing well

Two Parks have told us that they want to increase their contribution to wildlife in 2019, so it’s My Wild Dame Emily Park and My Wild South Street Park and Gardens.

The Bedminster Patchwork Group have identified their five community gardens and two community orchards as wildlife friendly, but hoping to do more. They are the South Street Patch; Myrtle Street Orchard; Dean Lane Orchard; Dean Lane Patch; Cherry Tree Gardens, Clifton Street Patch and Stackpool Road Homezone. Windmill Hill Community Orchard is also up for enhanced ‘wilding’.

The community garden at the junction of West Street and Churchlands Road has committed to enhancing its support for wildlife along with Churchlands Road itself which will be one of our first Wild Streets. Contact has been made with other potential wild streets, including, Osborne, Edgeware and Merrywood Roads in Southville and Foxcote and Hebron Road in Bedminster. More news on this later as we contact more residents.

I know that others are contacting neighbours, community gardeners, park support groups, churches etc with an invitation to take part in My Wild Bedminster, 2019. Good luck with this. Please let me know how you get on. Email: MyWildBedminster@virginmedia.com

Ponds

Ponds are very important wildlife sites in themselves’ especially if you are a frog or a dragonfly, but they are also very important as a drinking source for birds, mammals and insects. Bristol Parks tends to discourage the idea of ponds (we may need to work on that), but they are sometimes to be found in domestic gardens. Our search for Wild Streets has already revealed a few, but there may be many more. Even a simple dish of clean water can be useful, especially if we get more very hot periods as in 2018. These can be places so that cats cannot reach them or approach under cover.

Avon New Cut

The Friends of the Avon New Cut (FrANC) will undertake a clean-up on the south bank (York Road) of the Cut between the Banana and Bedminster bridges on Saturday, 9 February between 10 and about noon. Please turn up by 9.50am for an initial briefing at the Banana Bridge. Bring your own pickers and gloves if you have them, but FrANC has some too. Around mid-day the group will go to Harry’s Cafe (at Fowlers motorcycles) for some lunch on FrANC.

Please note that clean-ups on the Cut are done in the winter months so that nesting birds are not disturbed in the spring and summer. For more info on FrANC go to www.franc.org.uk .

Butterfly Nets

Some butterflies, day moths and other small creatures are easy to identify as they fly past, but others move too quickly. It’s useful to detain them for a few seconds so that you can examine their markings. The easiest way is to use a butterfly net. A great birthday present! Go to www.watdon.co.uk for more information. They do moth traps and other equipment, too.

In Defence of Stinging Nettles

We are very likely to remove any stinging nettles that pop up in our gardens or parks. But, we like to see Red Admirals, Commas, Peacocks and related butterflies. The caterpillars of this group love stinging nettles. Examine a patch at the right time of year and you will find hundreds of caterpillars. No stinging nettles, no caterpillars, no Red Admirals. Can we find some spaces where we can grow Red Admirals? Just a couple of square yards here and there will do it. If you hate gardening, this could be your contribution. 

Visit to Manor Woods

We are planning a visit to this nearby local nature reserve (Bishopsworth), but not until the weather is better. I’m wondering if people have a preferred time for this. Sunday afternoon? Saturday morning? Wednesday evening? I suspect that different people will prefer different times, but it would be good to hear from people, just in case there is a consensus. Google ‘Manor Woods Valley, Bristol’ for more background. 

News from the Local Nature Reserves

We have three on the edge of Bedminster. They are the Avon New Cut, the Northern Slopes and Manor Woods. Hopefully, this newsletter will be able to carry information about these sites, but only if people send it in. Of course, we would also like to help spread news about other sites too, such as, our parks and allotments and even (no, especially) news about Your Wild Garden. If you don’t tell us what you are doing to monitor and promote wildlife in Bedminster, how would we know? 

Who will see the First Hedgehog of Spring?

Please send your first sighting and a bit of information about where and when to: MyWildBedminster@virginmedia.com

Please pass this newsletter on to other people and invite them to join the BS3 Wildlife Group. Membership is free.