Site survey

The site survey records are based on observations over the entire area during each year. It is a continuous project which aims to identify the changes in flora and fauna on EWOS. Plants are only recorded when in flower, and newly planted ones are marked with a “P” to identify the month of introduction. This helps the volunteers review their success rate and gauge the importance of the site as a wildlife haven.

    The first survey resulted in the following totals:

  • 115 species of plant
  • 34 species of tree
  • 17 species of butterfly
  • 34 species of bird

Since this original survey in 1999 many changes have taken place. The entire scenery has been transformed and the tree growth is marked. New plants, trees and wildlife have flourished. Much of the growth is due to seed sowing and planting of flowers, shrubs and whips. Further changes in the appearance of the site, however, have been brought about by variable weather conditions, the improved grass-cutting regime and the summer fires. These developments are reflected through the seasons and illustrated in the following photos.

The Open Space in Spring
The Open Space in Spring
The Open Space in Summer
The Open Space in Summer
The Open Space in Autumn
The Open Space in Autumn
The Open Space in Winter
The Open Space in Winter

Plants

As the Open Space is a mix of natural grassland, scrub, closely cut grass and small areas of woodland, there are many varieties of plants and wild flowers. All surveys have shown a wide range of growth including bluebells, broom, common cats ear, common storksbill, vetch, cow parsley, garlic mustard, periwinkle, poppies, red campion, snowdrops, crocuses, wild daffodils and a host of other species.

Daffodils at the Wickham Street entrance, Spring 2007
Daffodils at the Wickham Street entrance, Spring 2007

Further bulb planting took place in November 2007 alongside the Highbanks path in memory of our former Treasurer Joyce Goldsack.

Butterflies

The butterflies have included the comma, green veined white, holly blue, large white, orange tip, peacock, red admiral, small copper, small tortoiseshell, small white and speckled wood.

Birds

The bird population has fluctuated in the last few years. There are welcome signs that sparrows, starlings and song thrushes are gaining in numbers and we have made every effort to encourage them, particularly the sparrows, with our hedgerow maintenance. Ring necked parakeets, a species which has for some time been resident in the borough, are now a common sight for those strolling over the grassland. Black caps, white throats, green and spotted woodpeckers, robins, wrens and tits can be seen regularly at appropriate times of the year. In recent years, we have seen fewer kestrels, although one pair still seems to be using the site.

July 2015 Survey of Flowers Butterflies and Moths

Flowers
Birds-foot Trefoil
Common Bistort
Common Knapweed
Common Ragwort
Common Sorrel
Creeping Cinquefoil
Creeping Thistle
Everlasting Sweetpea
Field Bindweed
Field Scabious
Greater Bindweed
Greater Knapweed
Hedge Mustard
Lady’s Bedstraw
Meadow Crane’s-bill
Musk Mallow
Ribwort Plantain
Rosebay Willowherb
Rough Hawk’s-beard
Small Scabious
Soapwort
Spear thistle
St John’s wort (Perforate)
Teasel
White Clover
Wild Basil
Wild Carrot
Wild Marjoram
Yarrow

Birds
Black-headed Gull
Blackbird
Blue Tit
Common Gull
Crow
Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Kestrel
Lesser Black backed Gull
Magpie
Parakeet
Starling
Swift
Wood pigeon

Butterflies
Comma
Essex Skipper
Gatekeeper
Green-veined White
Large White
Meadow Brown
Painted Lady
Peacock
Red Admiral
Ringlet
Small Skipper
Small White

Moths
Jersey Tiger
Six-spot Burnett
Small Magpie
Small Ranunculus

 

FROGLIFE SURVEY STARTING IN APRIL 2016

In conjunction with the building of the new ponds (see Pond Project) Froglife has provided a number of mats to be laid down at a variety of locations on the open space to carry out a reptile survey and have asked the volunteers for help in monitoring what is found from time to time. These items which are numbered for identification purposes have been placed in appropriate areas on the open space and have just been inspected for the first time (week ended Friday 29th April).

Here is what was found – 5 slow worms, 1 small frog, 1 young common lizard.

29 Apr 2016 001 (800x600)

Slow Worm Number 3

29 Apr 2016 002 (800x643) 

Young Common Lizard

During 2017 it has not been possible to carry out group surveys on work days so individuals in the group have been keeping an eye on the situation. The birds, butterflies and wild flowers are thriving.

Goldfinches and sparrows in particular have been seen on various occasions and our warbler population is still strong with white throats, black caps and garden warblers making themselves heard almost every day for the three months to the end of July 2017. There are also song thrushes, blackbirds, wrens, green woodpeckers and a lone kestrel.

Butterflies seen include orange tips, common blues, red admirals, peacocks, tortoiseshells, painted ladies, red admirals, skippers, spotted woods, large whites, small whites and brimstones.

An update on wildflowers will be added soon.