2018: Our wildlife cameras continue to show a variety of deer, foxes, badgers and birds, not to mention the rabbits. We were concerned in the summer to see a massive drop in the rabbit population, but judging by the number of fresh scratching and other signs, this has now recovered.
We continue to see a great range of birds of prey, especially kites and buzzards, and the raven can be heard croaking nearby occasionally.
It was hard work watering the newly set hedging plants and trees during the hot summer, but the efforts have paid off, as everything survived the blazing heat. The only casualty was a tree demolished by a deer attempting to remove an old antler!
We have so far installed 12 nest boxes around the site, which have all been used! As the orchard, wildflower meadow, pond and surrounding hedgerows flourish, an exciting increase in bird population has been observed.
We recently began to use a remote action camera to investigate wildlife, and have seen foxes, badger, muntjac deer, rats, and many, many rabbits! We also hope to capture on camera members of the stoat family which have been seen around the site this year.
We are keeping a list of birds seen on our allotments. The most recent sightings include kingfisher, snipe and ravens! If you see something that is not already on the list, please let us know. If you visit the site, have a look on the identification poster by the Wildlife Pond.
This year we have seen a significant increase in the spectacular murmurations of starlings that roost on nearby telephone wires in the evenings, and swallows continue to visit and enjoy the pond.
Large White – Pieris brassicae
Small White – Pieris rapae
Red Admiral – Vanessa atalanta
Small Tortoiseshell – Aglais urticae
Marbled White – Melanargia galathea
Meadow Brown – Maniola jurtina
Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas
Small Skipper – Thymelicus sylvestris
In November 2011, Peter E. Walker from St Neots undertook a biodiversity survey of the whole allotment site for us and has now delivered a wonderful report. He visited the site monthly from March to October and listed everything he could find. The astonishing plant total of 130 species was reached (not including the vegetables and fruit on the allotment plots or in the orchard!). 14 species of butterfly and a few day-flying moths were also recorded, as well as various fungi.
We also added a few more species to the bird list, which we have been compiling for several years. This survey will now act as a benchmark for future monitoring of plants and wildlife on the site.