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

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Comment by Simon Randolph on January 28, 2012 at 21:14

Not a bad haul, Des. I think I might try the park tomorrow for the RSPB Birdwatch.  The last few years' watches in the garden have only yielded about one or two individuals of three or four species.  But I don't know what the RSPB will do with two lots of records from the park over the weekend.

Comment by Des Bowring on January 28, 2012 at 17:46
Blue Tit (8),
Carrion Crow (5),
Magpie (6),
Woodpigeon (4),
Goldfinch (4),
Blackbird (4),
Pied Wagtail (3),
Coal Tit (1),
Robin (5),
Great Tit (3),
Chaffinch (3),
Jay (2),
Collared Dove (4),
Dunnock (1),
Mistle Thrush (1 singing),
Greenfinch (3),
Goldcrest (2),
Starling (1).

Comment by Jo Corke on October 7, 2011 at 11:11

Hi wildlifers,

We asked the BCC Senior Arboriculturalist some questions relating to Trees in the park.  We received a very full reponse which you can read here

Comment by Jo Corke on August 28, 2011 at 10:59

Wildlife Matters August

Hi to wildlifers,

If you have been looking at the FoSAP website recently you will have seen that the park, especially the pond and meadow areas, have been attracting plenty of insects and other invertebrates feeding, breeding and generally taking advantage of the habitat including the pollen and nectar on offer.

Simon and Des have recorded & identified about a dozen species of Hoverfly alone.

Big Tree Plant: TreeBristol is a group with money to plant trees, and they are looking for suggestions for places for them.  Their request is below.

The park has over 175 trees, but many date from the original Victorian plans, and these won't last forever.  In addition, the Victorians preferred exotic species, so there is not a single Oak tree in the park.  The value to wildlife of native oaks,  Quercus robur and Quercus petraea, is well documented, so we would like to see at least one specimen in the park.

 You can email
before the 1st September to suggest some trees for the park - and of course, you can  suggest trees for anywhere else that you want at the same time.

Watch out for the start of the new season Bird Walks, at which we look forward to seeing you.

Simon, Des & Jo
Big Tree Plant  An easy way to support tree planting in Bristol
A request for support from TreeBristol - please email before 1st September.
In partnership with TreeBristol, the Forest of Avon Trust (our local tree planting and woodland charity) is submitting a funding application to the Big Tree Plant. See
The Big Tree Plant is the Government's national tree planting campaign to encourage people and communities to plant more trees in England's towns, cities and neighbourhoods. See
Our bid is ambitious, we are pursuing funding to plant 10,000 new trees and create 4 new mini woodlands across Bristol over 3 years.
What you can do to help:
We need your support to strengthen the bid and demonstrate that the people of Bristol support our aims.
Please email a simple statement of support to Emma at Forest of Avon Trust before the 1st September.
Longer statements and/or details of locations in you think are in need of trees are also most welcome.
Thank you for your support,
Best wishes, Josie,  TreeBristol Officer

Comment by Simon Randolph on July 21, 2011 at 16:29

Given that up to 30 species of parasitoid have been identified as attacking the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner moth, you would think the moth larvae wouldn't stand a chance!  But I think the answer (for the immediate future anyway) is that the parasitoids won't have any significant effect on the  moth population.  The British Wildlife article gives a figure of less than 10% mortality of the moth larvae resulting from parasitoid attack. This is an atypically low mortality figure for the effect of parasitoid attack on their host and is probably explained by what the article terms 'a phenological mismatch' between the the moth larvae and the parasitoids, whereby the parasitoids are most active several weeks before the larvae reach a suitable stage in their development for effective attack by parasitoids.

I checked our Horse chesnuts in the park last year and they seemed to be free of leaf miner damage, and haven't noticed anything this year, but will look more closely before giving them a clear bill of health.


Comment by Des Bowring on July 20, 2011 at 21:48
An interesting article in the current issue of the journal British Wildlife investigates the various parasitoids associated with the leaf mining moth responsible for attacking Horse Chestnut trees. Will the parasitoids control the moths? For more info on the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner, there is a great website here which is well worth having a look at. You could help discover more about the moth and its parsitoids!
Comment by Simon Randolph on July 5, 2011 at 9:38
The two large bats - not Fruit bats then, Des?  Seriously, your observations confirm what Jo and I found:  two species flying at around 10 pm, Noctule and Pipistrelle.
Comment by Des Bowring on July 4, 2011 at 21:55
I went batting this evening, hitting the park just before 2200hrs. As soon as I got there I saw two large bats feeding between the Maurice Road entrance and the children's play area, my detector confirming that they were likely Noctules. Around the cafe area I picked up a Pipistrelle sp. but all signals stopped by the time I got to Effingham Road. Returning, I had good views of the Noctules again hunting in the dying evening light.
Comment by Jo Corke on June 6, 2011 at 16:28

Hi wildlifers,

Today three young wildlifers visiting the pond saw the first baby frogs emerging.  Just the size of your little fingernail, they now have quite a hazardous time ahead of them.  Magpies and blackbirds are hoping to recycle some of them to their own families, no doubt.   Perhaps someone would like to take a photo of them for the website?


Comment by Jo Corke on May 30, 2011 at 17:54
Wildlife Matters for 1.6.11 Jo Corke, Simon Randolph, Des Bowring.

Simon Randolph and Jo Corke attended a Bat Conservation Trust talk in early May. Bats

The Trust has bought 8 heterodyne bat detectors for use by Bristol Friends groups who have signed up to the project (FoSAP has joined)

We have been out detecting on several evenings.  We were rewarded on our first outing with pipistrelles, flying low around the three chestnuts, picked up on the detectors and also visible.

Other crepuscular users of the park were encouraged to take part in the detection, and, in answer to a question about the different echo-location frequencies that bats use, we turned the dial to ‘low’ – and we were immediately rewarded with evidence of noctule bats.

You can listen to bats here

It is hoped that, later in the month of June, we will be sufficiently experienced to lead a small group for a bat walk.  Participants will be encouraged to wear suitable bat costumes.

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