Category: Wildlife

The Parkland Project is looking for Volunteers!

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers who want to get involved with the Parkland Project. You will be helping to enhance the habitats for wildlife and people by carrying out practical conservation that will make a big difference as well as learn new skills and meet new people!

When?

Taster sessions this June: Thursday 17th & 24th 10:30am – 12:00pm – Booking Essential!

What we will be doing:

We need your help to carry out important work on this parkland, conserving, enhancing and restoring the natural heritage features.

Tasks will include woodland, wetland and grassland management, removal of invasive non-native species, wildlife surveying, access improvements and litter picking.

Why get involved?

Be part of a small, friendly team of like minded people.

Free outdoor gym!

You’ll get a chance to really explore this wild and beautiful green space, learn more about this Parkland and really get your hands dirty!

You will learn about wildlife conservation and habitat management and you’ll also have the opportunity to train in and share skills and techniques.

This is a chance to make a genuine contribution to wildlife and habitat conservation and have a real impact on this local park.

The Skills/Talents You’ll Need:

Enthusiasm and an interest in conservation are great.

No specialist skills are required though some level of fitness and a desire of work outside (in all weather) is important.

Tools are provided but please bring some gloves, snacks and drinks to keep you fueled up!

What to learn more and book on?

Contact us by email: CastleBromParklandInfo@gmail.com

 

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Tree ‘Popping’ in the Parkland

We were busy Tree ‘popping’ with our LYRiC (Love your River Cole) trainees in the  Parkland last week.

It was both a training exercise showing them how the tool worked as well as what could be achieved with it, as well as a chance to do some much needed woodland work.

I borrowed the Tree Popping tools from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, one of our project partners, which we put to good use removing some of the many Horse chestnut and Sycamore saplings that are springing up as well as some of the Holly.

Fortune was on our side as all the recent rain ensured the ground was soft resulting in even very tall (7ft) saplings coming out with their roots intact. 

We created two ‘dead’ hedges with the removed saplings and brash which creates a nice habitat for wildlife and a tidy boundary between areas.

We cleared a good sized area between our historic ‘Avenue of Trees‘ which just starts to hint at how the avenue will look once we have opened up this section.

If you are interested to learning more and would like to get involved please get in touch – we would love to hear from you!

Email us on: CastleBromParklandInfo@gmail.com  – Your friendly Parkland Team: Tara, Ann & Oliver.

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Getting to know the Parkland

This 12 hectare greenspace is an oasis of calm and tranquility in an otherwise densely built up area. A short stroll into the Parkland and you instantly start to relax and breath more easily, you are surrounded by tall grasses, brambles, trees and wildflowers getting ready to bloom. The site is made up of a mosaic of different habitats from the wild lower Marshlands to the higher grasslands and young developing woodland. The Parkland is classed as a Local Wildlife Site (LWS) and also has historic significance with a Grade II* listing from Historic England.

The Parkland has largely been left unmanaged since the estate was sold in 1969 with little work been done and so it now feels a bit neglected and quite wild. We plan to carry out a number of habitat improvements to enhance the site for wildlife and improve the experience for its visitors. 

Nuthatch (photo by Neil Aldridge)

 

 

We are busy getting to know the Parkland and would love to hear from you. We want to know what wildlife you see here.

Do you regularly admire the birds? Have you seen any owls?

Caught a glimpse of a fox or badger? We would love to know!

Please get in touch and send us your stories and pictures.

 

 

Do you remember what the Parkland used to be like in the past?

Did you play here as a child or have your grandparents told you stories about the park?

Maybe they would go hunting for horse chestnuts or picnics on the grassland?

Do they remember what the Avenue of Trees looked like before it became wild? Or have stories about the ponds?

 

 

 

I look forward to hearing from you all soon!

Email us at : CastleBromParklandInfo@gmail.com

 

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How many species on your doorstep?

Have you been using the inaturalist wildlife spotting app on your walks out and about Castle Bromwich and surrounds?

The On your Doorstep project run by our friends over in B37 has so far gathered 212 different species of plants, insects, animals and birds….

Our Gardener on site has been participating too – although most of the rest of the staff are working from home..

She reports that there are great tits nesting by our office… we often have a nesting pair in the tall pole of our security cameras… I wonder if they’re there this year?

The On Your Doorstep project goes on for another week – and the app continues after that too.  Do download the free app and use it to report your sitings however modest and ordinary – the more we know about all the wildlife around us, the better we will be able to protect it and enjoy it together.

 

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Hedgehog – in the daytime

We’ve some lovely night time footage of our resident hedgehogs (see the footage on previous blog posts). They’re free to roam across all of the different habitats in the Gardens – they like cover, but they also like a bit of mown grass… we have plenty of both.

This week, with so few people in the gardens one of them has been bold enough to come out a foraging in the day time.

We were initially a bit worried. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and seeing one in the daytime can be a sign of a poorly pig.

We looked at here, she looked at us.. We looked again. No longer interested in us, she turned slowly and waddled off into the undergrowth

We think – given she ‘waddled well’ that the one in this picture was probably a female foraging for food or for nesting materials. Given the lively group we’ve seen on the nightcam… we can only hope that our hogs are growing in number.

See here for some advice about hedgehogs in your gardens  https://www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/hedgehogs

https://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/hedgehog-fact-sheet/

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Kids and BBC Newsround – good as ever

Just sharing another round up of great things for kids to do.. BBCs Newsround has always been good and our national public broadcaster is really working well in the current situation.

Bug houses, Bee B&Bs, smile stones,  birdfeeders and growing veg are all featured on the current Newsround page… all things our Unplug and Play sessions really encourage.

Until we can welcome you back into the Gardens – why not practice with the Beeb.

I’m looking forward to a set of activities in the Gardens, led by enthusiastic, imaginative and skilled children!

Yes, we can make it happen.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52009318

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On your doorstep nature..our wildlife survey

Citizen science: we can all make a difference to the world’s knowledge.

These days almost anyone can take part in gathering important information that adds to scientists’ understanding. From this Friday you can help us map some really important nature around the Gardens using a free app for your phone.

In the past we have taken part in things like national Bee Counts and flower surveys. Our colleagues over in Chelmsley Wood (B37 project and the Tribal Community Rangers) have started using this app  iNaturalist from the National Geographic Society.

In May we will be taking part – where we can – at looking and recording the wildlife surrounding our Gardens, over the Parkland, on the church paddock, on Lady Bradfords Gardens (the green common in front of the hotel).  It’s a month long bio-blitz!

Did you know that the Parkland, surrounding the Gardens, hasn’t had much change or disturbance on it for nearly 400 years! So, it’s a really rich place for biodiversity.

All you need to do is:

  • Download the app.
  • Have a look for ‘On your Doorstop’ under projects – and join (not compulsory- but will help them and us with the data )
  • Then on your daily walk around the area, take a snap or two and upload what you see:  plants, insects, animals , birds….
  • At the end of the month Tribal will crunch the data for us – and we’ll share it with everyone.
  • And that’s it… ooh don’t forget to share some of your photos on our facebook/twitter/instagram

Thank you … you will be contributing to human knowledge and science –  that’s a great thing!

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Add a smile(stone) to social distancing

When we re-open the Gardens – whenever that will be – we know that social distancing will be a ‘new normal’ for some while…

from Staff Smiles Stones (by gill )

So, the (still working) team here have been thinking about what that would look like. We want to help people feel safe when they come to visit, and know that others are looking out for their health too. Shops and supermarkets are using yellow floor tape and painted circles…that’s not quite the thing we want to do in our historic Garden.

We’ve come up with a number of ideas and one of them needs your help.

Smile Stones … have you seen them about?

There is a lovely phenomenon of people painting pebbles and leaving them in the environment for people to find, to make them smile, to think and sometimes to collect and pass on. (PS the advice at present during Covid-19 , is NOT to pick them up and move them – just a precaution)

Smile stones are a little piece of everyday sharing and of spreading love.  We already have a few in the Gardens deposited (with permission) by local people.

We think stone and pebble smiles stones would make wonderful social distance markers all around our garden… Every 2 metres a bright little stone hedgehog or ladybird, or perhaps a heart lifting message to keep you going on to the next marker?

If you’d like to take part in helping brighten up our Gardens walking routes we’d love you to start now.

Aldridge smile stones

Below are some facebook pages and other things about how to paint stones.

How to get them to us

We will leave a plant pot attached to the (inner) gates of the Gardens – you can just pop your stones in there, and we’ll keep them ready for when we open (if the pot disappears , just roll your stones under the gate and our gardener will pick them up when she visits..)

Thank you – do pass on this activity to anyone you think might enjoy taking part.

PS … don’t spend money getting fancy paint… do what you can, a coat of clear nail varnish will do the trick –  or any outdoor varnish you have in your diy cupboard – over the top of house paint/kids paint or marker pens will do!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2P3gnRmv7FYlS7YwklbvVHd/how-to-become-a-rock-artist

Facebook has 

https://www.facebook.com/smilestonesbg/

and lots of groups in Erdington, Sutton Coldfield and Staffs — just search

 

 

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