Local Fauna and Flora

Category: About Napsbury Park Published: Friday, 20 June 2014 Written by Suhela Dighe

The NPRA Committee has been striving to see wildlife increased in the Park. We first contacted the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in 2013 to carry out a survey. Since then, we've had a number of surveys.  

The 2016 annual report is now available!

 

TREES

MBS has also carried out a flora and fauna survey, which outlines the types of plants, animals, insects and geology of the Park. MBS has identified 84 different species of plants and trees. The report recommends areas, which need attention due to invasive weeds and other areas for improvement. The report also identifies the ‘indicator species’ within the Park.

An Indicator species is any biological species that defines a trait or characteristic of the environment. At the Park these include

  • Sweet Vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
  • Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra)
  • Common Bent (Agrostis capillaris)
  • Common Sorrell (Rumex acetosa)
  • Field Wood-rush (Luzula campestris)
  • Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
  • Lady’s Smock (Cardamine pratensis
  • Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)
  • Grass Vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia)
  • Meadow Vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis)
  • Birds Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
  • Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
  • Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)
  • Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus bulb)

The majority of trees in this historic park have a preservation order on them and they cannot be trimmed back without the St Albans District Council’s permission. That permission is unlikely unless a tree shows signs of disease or stress. MBS undertake regular inspections of the trees and liaise with the Council accordingly.

Any concerns about trees should be discussed with HSC, our Property Maintenance Management Company by contacting Jasmine Brown, Hurford Salvi Carr, Tel: 01992 507181, . They will make the necessary contact with MBS who will make an initial inspection.

 

BIRDS

In 2014, we introduced bird boxes for various species of birds across the Park, particularly in the wooded areas and meadows. The boxes have been made and donated by The Training and Education Centre in Radlett. The Centre works with 14-16 year old children from challenging backgrounds to improve their social and vocational skills. We were fortunate that an NPRA committee member was a director of this centra and coordinated this exercise.

In early 2014 the boxes were installed across the Park by MBS (our maintenance contractors) under the guidance of the RSPB. Plans are also afoot for hedgehog boxes, possibly owl boxes and we hope, in some small way, to halt the declining swift population with the introduction of swift boxes in the refurbishment of the former Nurses Home. We are delighted that Crest Nicholson has agreed to this suggestion and will build them into the structure.

 

NEW: 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

Download the full report here.  An excerpt (edited) is below. 

Welcome to the annual report by the NPRA in conjunction with our local RSPB group. We have decided to make this an annual report so that you can see the lovely birds that inhabit our lovely park throughout the whole year in one report. We list the birds that were spotted in two surveys, during May and November 2016.

You will notice when you walk the park that we have installed ten bird boxes with a mixture of small and large holes to attract different species. Last year we had boxes 7 & 8 attacked by woodpeckers and/or squirrels resulting in the nest being abandoned. We had to armour plate these two boxes this year to protect the chicks, and it worked!!

 

AUTUMN 2015 RSPB REPORT  

Download the full report here An excerpt (edited) is below:

Welcome to the autumn 2015 report by the RSPB. This report lists the birds that were spotted on site in Napsbury Park during late October 2015. The RSPB visited site on two occasions as the first day was very windy.

We hope that this short report on the Autumn wildlife remains helpful to monitor the health of the wildlife that live Napsbury Park. Whilst looking at the bird boxes with my binoculars showed signs of bird activity due to the many tits and finches flying around. I do hope that the NPRA will be able to check and clean out the bird boxes ready for next spring as these are a great help in particular to the smaller species. Now that the summer song birds have moved on this allows the beautiful winter thrushes to fill the surroundings.

 

SUMMER 2015 RSPB REPORT 

Download the full report here. An excerpt (edited) is below:

I hope that this short report on the summer wildlife remains helpful to assist in monitoring the wildlife of Napsbury Park in its beautiful surroundings. The population of smaller species like tits and finches seem to have done very well due to the bird boxes provided by the NPRA and there are useful log piles dotted about which are a useful habitat for smaller animals and insects. Likewise woodpeckers and nuthatches are doing very well. No hedgehogs were seen on the walk as these are mostly nocturnal and are more likely to be found in and around resident’s gardens. 

We started  around 10:30am on 24th June. As it was a very warm day, there were many butterflies around and a few dragonflies over the open areas and along the paths. Checking some of the bird boxes, showed signs of bird activity with droppings on and around the entrance hole, the young would have fledged by now and have dispersed around the grounds with their parents occasionally feeding them. Looking up into the tree tops there were small groups of birds feeding in the shade, due to the heat most likely to fly down to gardens for a refreshing drink or bath, some will use the flower beds to dust bath. Most of the tit species were keeping out of the heat, but carrion crows, jackdaws, magpies, starlings, blackbirds, chaffinches and robins were feeding around trees and bushes. Swifts, swallows and a few house martins were flying over open the areas and fields. By mid-day the heat was increasing and the birds were seeking shade and getting difficult to spot so we and went home for the day.

For more on the speciea observed, see the full report.

  

WINTER 2015 RSPB REPORT

Download the full report here. An excerpt is below:

We started our survey out on the south perimeter path checking the wooded areas and the open spaces in the grounds, then proceeded around the path that leads to the old nurses home, then along to the sports fields where we saw a flock of thirty plus Redwing on the field. We continued up past the tennis courts and along the wooded area adjacent to Shenley Lane. We then continued along the central road back to Rosemary Drive to finish for the day.

The following day I started out on the northern path around the grounds to the central road, then all the way along to the end at entrance on roundabout, to finish the survey.

Birds observed: 

  • Carrion Crow 
  • Jackdaw
  • Wren
  • Mistle Thrush 
  • Bullfinch
  • Goldcrest
  • Blue tit 
  • Starling 
  • Goldfinch
  • Great tit 
  • Blackbird 
  • House sparrow 
  • Long-tailed tit
  • Woodpigeon 
  • Song Thrush
  • Collard Dove
  • Redwing Robin 
  • Dunnock
  • Red Kite 
  • Nuthatch
  • Chaffinch 
  • Magpie 
  • Great-spotted Woodpecker
  • Black headed gull

Heard but not seen: Green Woodpecker & Coal tit

Other Wildlife: Numerous Grey Squirrels and a Fox were also seen.

Conclusion: I hope that this short report on the winter birds remains helpful to monitor the wildlife of Napsbury Park and its surroundings. Successful breeding of the smaller bird species last spring/summer was evident due to the usage of the boxes hung by the NPRA in the previous year. These were checked cleaned & rehung.

 

Encouraging Wildlife at Home

Residents can encourage more wildlife in their gardens. Learn more on the RSPB website. 

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