Green Woodpecker

The wildlife in Manor Park

Our greenspaces are pivotal to the health of our communities, providing areas in which we can escape the stresses of fast paced modern life, while also helping to improve the quality of the air we breathe and reducing the risks of our homes becoming flooded, to name only a few reasons.

On our doorstep

However, when most people think of nature, their minds travel to remote areas or distant lands. Yet this should not be the case. Our urban and suburban landscapes can provide habitat for a wealth of biodiversity that is just as important, and Manor Park is no exception.

A varied habitat

You may be surprised to hear, that your local park has a number of different habitats, that can support an array of wildlife throughout the year; giving rise to wildlife spectacles and memorable encounters if you know when and where to look.

Woodpeckers and ants

In winter months you are likely to see green woodpeckers perched on top of the yellow meadow ant hills, that are speckled around the park. These rather inconspicuous mounds can be over a 100-years-old, providing homes to the complex communities of thousands of auburn coloured ants. Especially in the harsher months of winter, green woodpeckers rely on these small packets of protein for food. Winter birds such as red wings and fieldfares can also be regularly seen throughout the site during these months, escaping colder northern climates of areas such as Scandinavia.

Tadpoles

As spring arrives and temperatures improve, life literally jumps into action with frogs emerging from their hibernation. The ‘lazy’ males will typically be given a ‘piggy back’ by the slightly larger females to the seasonal pond which is to the south of the park. They will then lay their rafts of frogspawn that can have up to 2000 eggs! A little later in spring the vibrancy of blue bells will light up the woodland copse, providing a great nectar source for hoverflies and bees.

Insects galore

Butterflies make use of the warmer summer air, using the extra ‘lift’ to help them patrol the woodland edges in search of nectar sources. And in the late evening, as the sun sets bats will emerge from their tree roosts to feast on flying insects. These incredible miniature mammals can gorge on over 1000 insects an hour eating their body weight each night.

The enigmatic stag beetle

As the autumnal days start to shorten you may be lucky to see an enigmatic stag beetle clumsily flying through the air in searching for a mate. These incredible invertebrates depend on deadwood for survival, because they live as larvaemunching on rotting wood for up to seven years, before they emerge in their beetle form which can only last for a few weeks! You may also see mini murmurations of starlings starting to converge on the electric pylons, as they prepare for wintery displays.

A year in the life of the park

This is only a very short snapshot of a year in the life of the park, so next time you’re wandering through its woodlands or winding paths keep your eyes open and ear attuned as you never know what you might see.

Join in

Though unfortunately, unless we care for the park we will likely lose many of the species that depend on it for their existence, so why not join us for a conservation volunteering day where we work to enhance the park for biodiversity to ensure that future generations can enjoy these local natural wonders too.

Elliot Newton
Nature Conservation Manager, Environment Trust