The Biodiversity (BioD) Group

A number of our volunteers set up a biodiversity group at the end of 2018.

We felt that, while Wyndham Park is a formal space, there are things that we could do around the fringes to encourage wildlife diversity - plant and animal.

These have included installing new bird boxes (produced by Grantham Men's Shed), planting nearly four hundred hedge and tree saplings around the Forest School area.

A recent (May 2020) bird survey has been carried out and the findings are set out below:-

Immediately apparent on getting out of my car was the call of a peregrine from St Wulfram’s church, immediately followed by the tinny song of a goldcrest from one of the conifers in the park. Species seen or heard from the playing field above the park, across to the forest school and in the memorial orchard were as follows: robin, blackbird, mistle thrush, carrion crow, wood pigeon, jackdaw, wren, stock dove, blackcap, chiffchaff, goldfinch, dunnock, blue tit, wren, starling, magpie, chaffinch.

Large numbers of blackbirds – about a dozen or more at any one time – were feeding on the mown playing field above the park. They were nearly all male, suggesting a large nesting population in the surrounding hedgerows and nearby gardens (females presumably sitting on eggs or protecting chicks against the morning chill). Similar numbers of starlings were using the same feeding resource. I can’t draw the same conclusions as for blackbirds as the gender of starlings is tricky to determine in the field. 

 I was very pleased to hear a song thrush singing from a hedge line tree, as this is a declining species (there was just the one). The mistle thrush song appeared to be coming from one of the garden trees along Hill Avenue, but as the species uses a number of song posts, it could have been nesting anywhere in the vicinity. There were two separate robins singing from concealment in the hedges. Although both sexes sing, females only sing in the winter, suggesting two breeding territories.

 I was pleased to see blue tits near both of the nest boxes I could see. Calling stock dove was a bonus as the species is a rather a shy member of the Columbidae. As a hole nester, usually in tree holes, the stock dove population is restricted by the availability of nesting opportunities.  I was pleasantly surprised by the apparent density of the wren population. Four were singing in the two converging hedges that have the forest school at their apex. Eight jackdaws feeding in a group (same field as the blackbirds and starlings!) was no surprise – these are very sociable birds, even in the breeding season.

 There were two chiffchaffs singing, one in the scrubby corner above the forest school and another (my notes don’t say where!) in a different part of the site. There was one blackcap singing from the scrubby boundary hedge to the field beyond the forest school. One disappointment was that there were no whitethroats singing. Whitethroat, chiffchaff and black back seem to be the commonest warbler species in this area but in my experience the whitethroat prefers scrubby corners in open fields rather than in woodland edge type habitats, so perhaps the area is not suitable for them.

 Dunnock can often nest at quite high densities and I did in fact hear two singing individuals quite close to the forest school site. Goldfinch was represented by a single pair (I say “pair” – sex is indistinguishable in the field) but given the time of year, the two were probably a breeding pair.

Additionaly, a family of wrens have been seen flitting in and out of the hedgerows!