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Newsletter Number 3 - Feb 2022

 - Birds in Winter - 50 Gardens for wildlife
What's Been Happening?
Birds in Winter
Wild about Bath is a community group with the mission to encourage people to “Enjoy Nature, Conserve Wildlife and Build Community”. This winter the focus has been on birds. 
Abby Button is a third year student who is doing part of her third year Heritage degree placement at Bath Spa University with us. In December she helped us to think through How to Help Birds in Winter. This helped spur on quite a few of our members to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of January, some for the first time.
As well as recording them online for the RSPB to contribute to this long standing citizen science project, some of us posted our results on Facebook or sent them in to info@wildaboutbath.org. This enabled us to find out that as a local community our results are very close to the national average, although we do lack the declining sparrows and starlings that are found more readily in bigger urban communities.
Birds in Winter Walk – Sunday 6 February 2022
Our efforts did highlight two things:
  1. Some of us are struggling to identify some of the less common garden birds. We found a fantastic location for watching garden birds at feeders in Tucking Mill and held a couple of walks to spot them by sight and sound and learn more about their habits and changing populations, seeing around 24 species seen or heard.
  2. There was disappointment that some garden feeders didn’t seem to be attracting birds at the magic hour of the birdwatch. Some seasoned bird feeder watchers were able to give us some tips
Alan Hodges, with his Gold Award Certificate
Gardening for Wildlife Questionnaire

Wild about Bath currently has two main foci: appreciation of nature events and a gardening for wildlife scheme. We have taken advantage of the winter months to visit local gardens to help people fill in the questionnaire, which enables you to establish how wildlife-friendly your garden is, and to find ways to conserve nature by making changes in your own backyard. We now have results from approaching 50 gardens from a combination of visits and online entries. It is so encouraging to be able to discuss strategies and see people thinking hard about how they can combine their needs and wants for their own garden with contributing to nature conservation and doing their small bit towards saving the planet. So often there are tales of collaboration between neighbouring gardens as more than one garden is usually needed to support most species.


It has been so successful and helpful to the gardners, that we welcome requests to visit new gardens in the coming months.

Anne Fox removed leylandii hedging and replaced it with a native hedgerow consisting of hazel, spindle, hawthorn and holly. Existing hazel was laid down into the new plants. This will grow to create a fantastic habitat for a variety of birds and insects!
New Manager
Cat Baker has recently started as our new part time manager. She will help us with answering emails, things technological, publicity and administering the Gardening for Wildlife scheme. Cat finished her undergraduate degree in Willdife Ecology and Conservation Science last year and is currently undertaking a master's degree researching how some nocturnal beetles may navigate at night. Before and alongside this, she has volunteered in a variety of different places including Bristol Zoo Gardens, the BRLSI, Bristol and Avon Rivers Trust, Toad Patrol, Festival of Nature, and at the Bat Conservation Research Lab at UWE (Bristol). Welcome Cat!
Upcoming Events

You are now able to book for events using Eventbrite if you follow the links. The outdoor walks have small numbers so it may be good to book early, but let us know if you are not able to come so your place could be made available to someone else.

Gardening for wildlife talk

To kick off the season we will hold a talk by Ann Stuart (one of the Founders of Wild about Bath) about what has been discovered by visiting local gardens and gardeners and giving some tips about areas to focus on. There will be a panel of experts able to give answers to your gardening for wildlife questions. With refreshments, of course! 7.30pm, Tuesday 29th March at St Andrew’s Community Church, Hawthorn Grove, Foxhill, BA2 5QA. Please register to attend via Eventbrite HERE

Photography Competition

We so enjoyed your nature photographs in our first Wild about Bath photography competition last autumn. We’ll have a similar event this year with the display in October. There are sections for young people and teenagers as well as adults,  so take your camera with you and your family as you get out and about. 

Outdoors

  1. We’ll visit some fields with cowslips in, look for newts and see what moths are out and about in mid April (details to be confirmed). 
  2. Early purple orchids should be out along with bluebells and other woodland flowers in Conkwell Woods on 30th April. James Bradby will be our guide. Register to attend HERE
  3. Morning bird song walk. Breeding birds will be singing their hearts out by 1st May and the Millennium viewpoint in Southstoke is a great place to see and hear them. You can register to attend HERE

 

More events will be posted on the website as the dates are finalised.

Enjoy spring! Our next newsletter will be out mid April.

- The Wild About Bath team

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