Greater Bedminster Newsletter (01:17) – My Wild Bedminster: November

You will know that the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership is no more and has been replaced by a new network called Action Greater Bedminster.    This newsletter replaces the GBCP Newsletter and is independent, but supportive, of the new structure.   We also want to support other organisations across BS3 and nearby by helping to spread information and ideas.

Below is a Special Newsletter sent in by Matt of Avon Wildlife Trust as part of the on-going My Wild Bedminster project (see other posts on My Wild Bedminster).   We will be circulating more information about My Wild Bedminster and other activities over the next few weeks.    My Wild Bedminster will continue into 2018 and beyond.

Apologies to AWT for delay in sending this special out, but the change over has been a bit confused.


November is here and so are the first frosts which grip both the air and ground.   Crisp leaves now litter the ground creating a golden carpet of yellow and orange, and spiders web glisten silver and white as they hang from shrub to shrub.   Berries are still abundant but the competition is intensifying as every creature aims to get their fill.

WHAT TO SEE THIS MONTH

Birds
This month sees the return of our resident birds to the garden in greater numbers as they come in from feeding spots further afield.   We also see the first of the winter garden migrant species making their way across from Europe to hang in the garden.   Common species like chaffinch and blackbird will be much more visible now alongside the usual goldfinch and long tailed tits.   But the bird to look out for is the redwing!   (Please let us know if you spot a redwing and where and when)     Only ever a winter visitor to the UK, November sees large numbers of this bird fly into the UK from northern Scandanavia to take advantage of the milder weather and abundant fruit.   A close relative of the blackbird, this winter thrush will happily feed on fallen apples on the ground in gardens so why not add it to your list of food for the birds!

Hedgehogs
November is often marked by bonfire night and the burning off large piles of wood, sticks and other garden material.   This ritualistic celebration may be a much loved night for people but can potentially have devastating consequences for wildlife.   Many species all looking to escape the cold and find somewhere warm and dry to see out the winter.   Large piles of vegetation like those created for bonfires are very tempting winter retreats, particularly for hedgehogs, and therefore we must be super careful to look out for and cater for these garden residents.   Check existing piles of vegetation before burning, or consider not burning it all and creating a nice habitat pile in a secure corner of the garden.   If you’re feeling super keen, why not create a purpose built hogtel!

Trees
The change to colder weather and short days of light triggers a change in the majority of trees. The pigment which causes leaves to be green, chlorophyll, begins to breakdown and for all energy to be focused towards the roots to get it through winter.   This allows other pigments to show their colours, namely carotenes and xanthophyll, which give us the stunning oranges and yellows we so enjoy.   The final stage of this process is for the tree to drop the leaf all together but not all trees do this.   Most of the conifers (pines, spruces, firs, hemlocks, cedars, etc.) are evergreen meaning they stay green all year round.   Their more needle- or scale-like leaves remain and may stay on for two to four or more years.

PLANT OF THE MONTH

Old Man’s Beard (Clematis vitalba)
Also known as Traveller’s Joy, this woody stemmed climber is a member of the buttercup family and is often seen scrambling over hedgerows and shrubs. A rampant grower and a native UK climbing plant, it’s feathery, greenish flowers during July-August are followed by fluffy white beard-like seed heads which can be seen in November.

Best grown at the base of a hedgerow or allowed to grow over a garden shed, this plant is both decorative and great for wildlife.  The flowers are visited by pollinating insects during the day, such as bees and hoverflies, and is also a food plant for many night-time moth species including the gorgeous small emerald, Hemistola chrysoprasaria.   The seedheads of this plant also provide a food source for birds, such as goldfinches.

Why not visit the wildflower nursery at Feed Bristol to learn more about gardening for wildlife?

Avon Wildlife Trust’s team of experts will help you pick the right plants for you and to help the wildlife in your back garden.   See you there!    Feed Bristol, 158 Frenchay Park Road, Bristol, BS16 1HB.

And don’t forget to join in the BS3 Winter Garden Bird Watch which runs from October to March.    Download a recording sheet.

Matt Collis.      My Wild City – Project Manager.      0117 917 7270 .     Follow me on Twitter: @mattcollis9

Avon Wildlife Trust, 32 Jacobs Wells Road, Bristol BS8 1DR | avonwildlifetrust.org.uk

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