No, not a beautiful snow covered scene, though I'm sure this will occur within the next few months, but a wonderful collection of wildlife to see within the park this winter.
Due to the very mild Autumn we are still seeing a scattering of wild flowers throughout the meadows. The Bee Orchids are growing strongly now and are showing a distinct rosette of green leaves at ground level. These are a Mediterranean type species commencing leaf growth in the Autumn, growing throughout the Winter, flowering in the Spring and dying back for the summer.
Many of our garden bulbs adopt this growth pattern though they can also flower in Autumn before leaf growth eg Crocus, Sternbergia, Cyclamen etc.
We have the Holly and the Ivy in fruit at the moment, providing an excellent display as well as food for the birds. Please do not pick these plants as they are young and very vulnerable at present.
Gorse is in bloom, providing a bright scene to an otherwise dull day. Gorse Ulex europaeus is extremely beneficial to wildlife providing protection and nesting sites for smaller bird life, food for insects, it blooms all year around but particularly late Winter and early Spring when nectar and pollen is scarce.
Plenty of other berries are available for bird life including Sloes and Hawthorn - resulting in an influx of the winter migratory Thrushes. So keep observing and please forward reports of any sightings.
Possible Thrushes sightings on the park this Winter:-
I have observed Blackbird, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing and Starling already this month and will be looking out for any other species.
Also of flocks of Long-Tailed Tits flitting through the bushes and trees feeding on insect eggs and larvae. Goldfinches, also in flocks, are to be seen in similar environments, though they are feeding on seeds
Look out for Goldcrests and possibly a Firecrest (one seen at Attenborough Nov. 28th.)
The Buzzard is still flying over the park and Kestrels are usually around every day.
Not sighted any Short- Eared Owls, in fact any Owls, lately. Has anyone seen any?
Please send in any observations of birds and wildlife, no matter how common they seem, as we need to build up a picture of the health of our environment.
All the above observations were from the Northern perimeter of the park especially the Butterfly Walk.
We will report regularly through the holiday period so keep any information pouring in.
WARNING - the park is absolutely saturated as a result of the recent heavy rainfall so if you intend to go off the paths take extreme care as to where you walk. We do not recommend you leave the footpaths and all observations reported were from paths.
(The Thrush data is from the BTO's ringing records)
Trustee - Friends of Gedling Country Park
FGCP joins other local environmental groups at the annual Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group Forum
Trustee - Friends of Gedling Country ParkBy Diane Moore
I arrived at the campus early, with 30mins to spare before the event started, so I decided to venture down ‘memory lane’. I need to explain. I studied horticulture at Brackenhurst in middle 1990s and thought I would wander down to the walled garden to recall memories of working in groups digging, pruning the fruit trees and planting vegetables. However, I did not stop there - I walked over to the woodland and saw the pond as grand as ever and the ever increasing carpet of blue/white flowers of the Anemones.
I was well into my ‘memory lane’ and soon found myself at the rose garden. I remember forking over the beds for winter and carefully pruning the thorny stems to past the practical test. The ‘temporary’ study rooms were all gone and replaced with student accommodation. By now I had almost completed a circular walk so decided to browse the library I knew so well as a student. However, I soon discovered a brand new library building with a large collection of garden design, horticulture books etc. It is likely I will be calling at the library again in the near future to borrow books. A wonderful circular walk full of very happy memories.
By now I had arrived back at the Bramley Building for the 9.45am start of the event. A tempting table full of delicious cakes and plenty of tea, coffee and soft drinks greeted me/us provided by volunteers from Dynamo House Café supporting Bestwood Country Park.
Reading down the impressive delegate list I discovered numerous ‘Friends of’ groups; our Friends of Gedling Country Park with two delegates myself and Brian, Friends of Bestwood Country Park, Friends of Colliers Wood, as well as Nottinghamshire County Council officers, Natural England, Nottingham Wildlife Trust and many more.
I was very pleased the programme covered a wide range of topics; grassland, reed beds, woodland, heathland followed by practical workshops; hedgerow diversity, ponds inventory, arable field margins, scrub, blue butterfly grassland and woodlands for wildlife.
The presentations were very professional and the speakers were well up on their subject. I've listed below a few highlights from each presentation:
Nick Crouch, Senior Practitioner Nature Conservation, Nottinghamshire County Council discussed - exploring Calcareous grassland as a resource, its value and how we must strive to preserve and enhance these to increase wildlife value. They provide extremely valuable support to rare plants such as the fragrant orchid and habitat for ground nesting birds. Local examples include Annesley Woodhouse, The Linby Trail and Bulwell Hall Park. However, the threats are under-and-over grazing, development and abandonment.
Tristan Galletly, Woodland Officer, Forestry Commission. Biodiversity Rich Woodlands. (Tristan highlighted he mainly deals with private landowners). He stressed the need for woodlands to be managed and how they can be managed for a particular species or a variety of species in the short /long term, such as Night Jars, Woodlarks and Warblers. Tristan also stressed that we need to be on the lookout for Chalara ash die back and how woodlands are responding to climate change and how they will survive in 25-50 years time.
Carl Cornish, RSPB. Reedbeds and Wetlands. Discussed the need to try to achieve favourable, sustainable and well managed reed beds not only to sustain wildlife but also because it helps to attract funding for environmental projects. However, we also need to have a close look at our ambitions, reality and how achievable our targets are. Carl’s presentation included a diagram of a variety of sizes of reed beds and he stressed bigger is better and should be well connected in order to be of maximum benefit to wildlife.
Janice Bradley, Head of Conservation Policy and Planning, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Enhancing Nottinghamshire Heathland for Future Generations. Janice discussed using Development Plans to protect sites, particularly for Heathland establishment at local former collieries. Janice described spoil treatment, the need to stabilise spoil through spreading and compaction to establish a nursing grass sward using three species grass seed. Janice also mentioned Living Landscapes engaging with local communities to improve their outdoor spaces and working with the police and landowners to reduce trail bikers and antisocial behaviour.
After a delicious lunch we attended the workshops. I attended the Sarah Pierce, Hedgerow Practical workshop (basic level of hedgerow survey). Our hedgerow strip was well established, linear Hawthorn hedge with intervals of Blackthorn. Sarah explained we needed to record the date, time, weather, location, size and hedge description. Equipment consisted of large butterfly net and measure tape, clipboard with identification lists. We measured out three metres and using the large net we brushed the branches gently and inspected the net. We counted several small beetles, spiders and moths. Undergrowth and rocks revealed woodlice, empty snails shells and rabbit holes. Data collected, we returned for the summing up and closure.
The day was very informative and professional and from the above outline summary I hope you will be inspired to attend next year or join the LBAP to gain more information and experience. Meeting like minded people; professionals and Friends of groups is very encouraging and keeps the momentum going. You can find out more information about the Nottinghamshire BAG through their website by clicking on this link http://www.nottsbag.org.uk/
Trustee - Friends of Gedling Country Park
FGCP held an event today to remove tree guards on the area along from the Spring Lane car park overlooking the country park.
We cleared redundant guards from HUNDREDS of trees of various species. Thank you to all the volunteers who have made a huge difference already as the trees look more "natural" now they are guard free. The hard work is very much appreciated by the Friends of Gedling Country Park.
A special thanks to Erin 8 & Darcie 9 from Netherfield who helped their Nana collect the discarded tree guards. You both put in a supreme effort.
We are planning more events soon so keep a look out on our the news pages of our website.
Trustee FGCP & (still) Chief Litter Picker
Let's obliterate litter in Gedling
As part of national Community Clear up day more than twenty Friends of Gedling Country Park Trustees and volunteers took to the hills of the park to collect litter ahead of it's official opening on Saturday 28 March 2015.
Over 45 bags of litter have now been collected and removed from around the paths, ditches and lagoons in the park. Along with the usual wrappers, cans, and bottles, the more unusual finds also included a pink tutu, a dustpan and brush and a life ring.
Trustees were joined on the day by a great group of local volunteers, including our youngest volunteers Sam, Jack, Jamie and Finley.
Gedling Borough Council has finished installing waste bins throughout the park. These will take both general waste and dog waste and we would encourage all park users to use them.
The clear up begins
Trustee, Francis Rodrigues has been out and about on the park this week helping to get it ship-shape before the grand opening.
Sadly, large amounts of litter have built up around the park entrances and along the paths in the park, including along the banks of the lagoons.
However, Francis, his wife Janet and even Buddy the dog have started the not so insignificant task of litter picking and there are now eighteen less large bags of litter in the park.
Gedling Borough Council has been busy installing waste bins throughout the park this week. These will take both general waste and dog waste and we would encourage all park users to use them.
If anyone else would like to volunteer to help us please get in touch.