In 2007 we set aside the Signwaves car park border as a 'green corridor'. We planted some native wild flowers and have been letting nature do its thing ever since.
And, unbeknown to us, it's become something of a 'drive-in nature watch' - frogs, seagulls, squirrels, pigeons, dragonflies, feral cats, foxes, woodpeckers and even Muntjac deer have all been sighted!
Here's a few residents caught on camera...
In the Spotlight
One of our favourite residents is the Red-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Lapidarius), sometimes called the 'Stone Bumblebee'.
We see plenty of these large 'bombers' around the embankment at this time of year searching for nest sites. Their ideal find is a preformed cavity (e.g. burrows made by mice and voles) which, although they take a lot of looking for, are still much easier for them than digging a hole from scratch.
- There are 6 common resident bumblebee species in the UK plus a recent invader, the 'Tree Bumblebee'.
- Red-Tailed Bumblebees have a foraging range of 400-1000 metres, so habitat quality and the density of available/suitable plants is important
- The Red-Tail's favourite plants are Clover and Trefoils.
- 75% of all food crops are insect pollinated.
- The global economic value of insect pollination is estimated at £140 billion.
Plight of the Bumblebee
UK bee numbers have declined by 25% in recent years, whilst numbers in the USA have declined by 59%. Why? There is no definite answer, but it is believed to be the combined effect of pesticides, parasites/disease, predators (including badgers and blue tits in the UK), the effects of monoculture and general loss of natural habitat.
- Think flowers!
- Increase the suitability of public spaces and farmland.
- Leaving the perimeter edge-strips of fields to grow wild will assist bird and insect life.
- Providing a succession of mass-flowering crops will ensure that the opportunities for bees are not transient.
- BAPS awareness - Biodiversity Action Plans provide a considered lead towards habitat recovery and improvement.