Well after feeling quite pleased with myself after last week’s letter to Newcastle City Council about the tree felling and general clearance in Walker Park I wanted to return to see the impact.
It obviously took a few days to get a response to my concerns. During this time the tree I was most concerned about with its nest holes has been reduced to a pollard. Not helpful for any hole nesting birds for this year but as least it is still there. And some of the thick branches removed has been left on the ground –quite enlightened. However, in the SE of the park a large area of bushes has been reduced to wood chippings. Still enlightened but not as helpful to the birds who had already staked this out in their territory. Or for the insects playing their part in this inner city ecosystem
So probably a score draw. Pleased any more work is now delayed until the Autumn. Concerned that I did not get in earlier and worried about what this work might entail. However, a better result than @DavidRoyTaylor had with Sunderland City Council–an ecologist had said it was OK so they continued with the work.
So with a lots of talk about the value of nature in cities I began to wonder how valuable is Walker Park and the cemetery next to it? Given this is a significant green space in that part of the city I am sure it has a positive impact on people who live there. But what about the birds? In a steady walk round I counted 20 species all apart from the Lesser Black-backed Gull where showing signs of nesting –from singing through to carrying food and nesting material. On the drive home I wondered is this a good or bad score so I called in at Chase Park Whickham. Here I only got 12 species of those the Wren and the Chiffchaff were singing from outside the Park boundary. List below:
This is not real science, but as an observation Whickham Park has bigger trees and some scrub layer, but is very tidy. There is not the overgrown hedge that runs across Walker Park with its stinging nettles; emerging cow parsley; Speckled Wood butterflies and Orange Tip. Neither are wild but it gives a picture of the world if we become to tidy and don’t leave space for wild-things. It won’t take much to tip this balance.
And should things change for the worse at least be reminded that in 2015 we did have both House Sparrows and Starlings in all 25 tetrads.