Wildlife group

Welcome to the wildlife page.

Members: 21
Latest Activity: Oct 30, 2019

Work of the Wildlife Group

Comments for the Wildlife group are posted below this introduction to the work of the wildlife group.


Our formal ‘Victorian’ park might not seem to provide much in the way of interesting habitat for wildlife. Yet we can boast of having over 175 mature trees comprising at least 32 different species. (If you open the 'Trees' tab at the top of the Main page, you can find out more about our park trees.)

Comments for the Wildlife group are posted below this introduction to the work of the wildlife group.
Over 14 years ago an earlier wildlife group planted stretches of hedge along Effingham Road and opposite St Bart's Church made up of a mix of native tree species and flowering shrubs which have now matured. These attract a variety of birds and insects by offering them a range of food as well as nesting and shelter sites.

We have been steadily improving on this existing biodiversity. In agreement with the Parks department, we have built a pond (2007) seeded a wildflower meadow (2009) and planted additional hawthorn and blackthorn saplings (2009.) We have (2010) persuaded the Parks department to replace their previous severe hedge-cutting regime and institute instead a much more wildlife friendly approach to the cutting and management of the mature hedges which will involve less frequent cuts and allow the plants to grow significantly thicker and higher. This has to be good news for many invertebrate species as well as hedge nesting birds and birds that just use the hedge as a food resource. A shady 'woodland' area between the edge of the depot and the meadow area has been partially planted with shade loving native species: wild garlic, red campion and native bluebells (2011). A further section of this shade area will be similarly planted in 2012.

In September 2012, three diseased cherry trees were cut down in the park.  The trunks were placed in the lower corner between the depot and the shade area. As these slowly rot, they will become a rotting wood habitat, colonised, we hope, by various invertebrates and fungi that feed on and in the wood.

We organise regular morning birdwatch meetings on the third Sunday of the month, usually from September to June, to follow the changing bird populations during the year.

Photographs of the natural history of the park are regularly added to the website which record the natural wildlife and seasonal changes taking place in the park.

The south facing slope below the Bowling Green was cleared (April 2011) of the small ash trees that had seeded themselves here.  Also partial clearance and serious pruning has been carried out on the gorse,bramble,Taveller's Joy (wild clematis) and cotoneaster shrubs that had come to dominate this area.  In their place, a variety of herbaceous plants have been planted which should provide an attractive resource for insects looking for pollen and nectar. 

The following plants form the main body of the planting on the slope:

  • Fragasia vesca                                
  • Thymus drucei                                 
  • Nepeta mussinii                
  • Aubrieta deltoides              
  • Aster novii - belgii                
  • Scabiosa autopurpurea                    
  • Waldsteinia ternata                         
  • Geranium himalayense 'Gravetye'
  • Geranium Macorhizzum 'Ingwersen's Variety'

 If you would like to help in any way in developing the park as a more interesting and attractive place for wildlife, or just to be kept informed of any news and developments relating to the animals and plants of the park, then you are most welcome to join our group; please contact us through this website.

 You can find out about nature reserves managed by Bristol City Council here.

Jo Corke and Simon Randolph.

Discussion Forum

The Value of Different Tree Species for Invertebrates and Lichens

Started by Des Bowring. Last reply by Fo SAP Apr 21, 2017. 5 Replies

Here's an interesting web page that lists the most important tree species for associated invertebrates…Continue

Comment Wall

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Comment by Simon Randolph on March 31, 2012 at 14:54

Hi Tim,

Welcome to the wildlife group of FoSAP. Good to have another member who is interested in wildlife.  You may know about the regular monthly birdwatch in the park, every third Sunday in the month, from 10 - 11 am, run by Des Bowring.  I like to record photographically, the seasonal changes in the park and its wildlife, which I put on the website and which you may be interested to look at.  Any observations you have, such as your buzzard sighting would be great, and just the sort of thing to post on the website's wildlife group page.


Comment by Des Bowring on March 31, 2012 at 12:39

Hi Tim. It's increasingly common to see Buzzards over Bristol as they are now nesting in the suburban fringe in quite large numbers. Sightings in early spring are often birds looking for nesting sites around the city, although I don't think they will ever become an inner-city species to rival Sparrowhawks or Peregrines! I saw this one over St Andrews Park on 10th March.

Comment by tim cowell on March 31, 2012 at 9:36

spotted a buzzard being mobbed by 2 cgows over burghley rd yesterday- how common is this?

Comment by Jo Corke on March 14, 2012 at 11:24

Here is the latest wildlife report, tables at the committee meeting 29.2.12Wildlife matters

Comment by Des Bowring on March 10, 2012 at 17:40

Not sure what the 2012 butterfly tally is so far in the park, but for the record, a Brimstone was out and about in the sunshine this morning.

Comment by Simon Randolph on February 23, 2012 at 17:29

The following pictures show some of the main changes a tadpole undergoes from egg to development of rear legs:

  • (B) (C) Newly hatched - no mouth, but small amount of internal yolk for food; no eyes; adhesive organ allowing attachment to weed etc, until tail is sufficiently muscular to allow swimming
  • (D) First week - well developed external gills; mouth; eyes; muscular tail
  • (E) By end of fourth week - external gills covered and develop internally
  • (F) (G) After 5 weeks - spiracle clearly visible which allows water to pass out of the body after passing over the gills
  • (H) After 6 or more weeks - hind legs well developed

Comment by Jo Corke on February 17, 2012 at 19:00

We have received a report from the recent Trees and Health talk.

TreeForum TowardsA HealthyCity.pdf

Comment by Simon Randolph on January 29, 2012 at 12:08

NO choughs in the park this morning - Alpine or otherwise!  It was rather quiet, but saw: Blue Tit (2), Carrion Crow (2), Woodpigeon (4), Blackbird (4), Robin (2), Great Tit (1), Chaffinch (2), Jay (1), Collared Dove (3), Dunnock (2), Mistle Thrush (1 singing), Greenfinch (1), Starling (3).

Your Montpelier Station list is impressive, Des.  But where are the wrens?  Do you think the last two cold winters have knocked their populations back?

Comment by Jo Corke on January 29, 2012 at 11:14
From my window this morning I saw Alpine Chough (20) snow finches (2) blackbird (1). The blackbird shouldn't stll be here...
Comment by Des Bowring on January 28, 2012 at 23:29

I presume they factor in the possibility of more than one person doing the birdwatch in a public park, and the fact that it's different days should be OK.


I must admit Montpelier station was the place to be today!


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