Wildlife-Friendly Gardens Field Meeting November 15th 2014

Nine of the usual suspects met Colin at Ripley Car Park on a dank misty morning.

Sharing cars, we first visited Colin’s garden in Kirby Hill, near Boroughbridge, where he is creating a wildlife haven amidst an agro-industrial wasteland.  He has installed approximately 30 nestboxes, which have encouraged House and Tree Sparrows, Tits and Starlings to nest.  Swift nestboxes have unfortunately been taken over by the above more common species, but Colin was pleased to report that this summer Swallows have nested for the first time in his back porch.  Areas of grass in his lawn have been left to grow long to encourage the growth of wild flowers and to provide a refuge for small rodents.  In fact, recently a Harvest Mouse was found to have taken up residence.  We were all getting rather chilled after touring the garden, so a hot drink provided by Colin’s wife Claire was very welcome.

Our next visit was to HDBAG member Sandra Mason’s woodland garden at Sawley.  The principle behind the garden is to provide layers of vegetation ranging from treetop height to ground cover in order to attract the maximum number of invertebrates.  The garden, which is influenced by the woodland garden at Old Sleningford, is still in its early stages but is attracting large numbers of insects with its mixture of native and more exotic species.  Goldfinches fed in the nearby alders as Sandra explained how she established the garden in an area of rank grass using layers of old carpet and manure!

We next moved on to HDNS member Sue Harrison’s garden between Pateley Bridge and Wath.  Sue was unfortunately unable to be present, so Colin showed us around.  There was much activity, mainly Tits, at the ingenious squirrel-proof feeders and a Greater-Spotted Woodpecker was also present.  A pond containing Carp and Sturgeon is apparently a good breeding ground for various amphibians.  Spotted Flycatchers have nested in previous years and Tawny Owls are frequently seen.  Sue has tried to develop the surrounding fields, which she owns, for wildlife and has planted trees and erected an owl nestbox.

Many thanks to Colin, Claire, Sandra and Sue for an interesting and informative morning.


Will Rich

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