FoSAP AGM 2014 Annual report. Wildlife conveners.
- Pond clearance. Keeping the vegetation under control is a year round job carried out by members of the wildlife group. This year we had extra help from the Avon Wildlife volunteer group who undertook a major clearance for us. Although this looked a bit drastic at the time, the benefits are now obvious.
- Pond access improvements. Over time the original pathway around the back of the pond became slippery. We were fortunate to have help from BCC firstly in funding the improvements we needed (JM secured the necessary S106 money) and secondly in the organisation of the work by Justin Smith, BCC wildlife officer. Justin died unexpectedly days before the work was to begin; his colleagues said they wished to continue with the planned work because ‘That’s what Justin would have wanted’. The work is still in progress.
- Shade area. Further successful planting of ramsons, native bluebells and winter aconite in the shade area behind the depot.
- Wildflower meadow. We are in the second phase of a pilot plan to reduce the nutrient level of small areas of meadow to encourage wild flower growth relative to grasses. We have also sown the native Rhinanthus minor, the yellow rattle, which is a semi-parasite of grasses; we hope that this will weaken the grasses, which continue to dominate if left unchecked.
- Dead Wood Pile. We are very pleased with the success of the dead wood pile habitat in increasing fungal biodiversity in the park. While mushrooms and bracket fungi may not strike everyone as worthy of special mention they are an important part of our park habitat as well as being attractive in their own right. We are recording insect and other arthropods that have taken up residence too. Midland Forestry was happy as they did not have to dispose of the felled trees trunks, merely moving them into our chosen site.
- Bird Walks. Regular monthly bird watch walks each month were again led by Des Bowring during winter/spring period. The birds seen each time are reported on the website; this year’s special mentions are Raven which regularly fly over our park and the local area, Fieldfares and Redwings in transit, and another successful breeding year for the park’s resident pair of Mistle thrushes, whose nest was located, with young inside. In total, 30 bird species were seen on the year’s bird walks: Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush (not seen on bird walk) Blackbird, Redwing, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Raven, Jay, Blackcap, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull.
- Bristol City Council continues to provide support. Teija, BCC head gardener is on hand to advise and Mike our park keeper does the regular maintenance tasks of hedgerow cutting, wildflower meadow mowing and clearance.
- Extension of the annual flower beds. While this project is not an initiative of the Wildlife group, it is hoped it will not only be successful in providing a colourful display while reducing ASB in that area of the park, but will as a bonus, have the benefit of attracting a range of insects that will use the flowers as a valuable source of nectar and pollen.
- Through the year. The website www.friendsofstandrewspark.com is the best place to follow the wildlife in the park through photographic contributions from members of the wildlife group and the 4 videos produced in collaboration with MW.
It has been a pleasure to co-ordinate the group and we look forward to seeing you at the various planting and clearance events next year.
Jo Corke and Simon Randolph.12.4.14