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  • Writer's picturePaul Hetherington

Starter homes for wildlife in Central Park

Friends of Central Park have been investing in wildlife over the winter lockdown purchasing a range of habitats to provide safe homes for many of the wonderful wild animals that live in and around our park.

These super new homes have been carefully put in place by the Peterborough Parks team.

Five hedgehog barns have been discretely hidden on the ground within the bushes providing the ideal place for hedgehogs to rear a new batch of hoglets and then to fill with autumn leaves for a comfortable over winter hibernation. Here’s hoping that by July all 5 barns will have a cluster of four or five hoglets.

Nine solitary bee homes have been lined up on a south facing fence in the sensory garden the perfect place for these savvy pollinators to add an extra buzz to the smells, sights and feel of this area which is also packed full of nectar rich flowers. Not only are solitary bees amongst our top pollinators they are not capable of stinging so the ideal buzzing companion to visitors to this hidden area of tranquillity.

From April through to September different species of solitary bees are looking for sites to lay their eggs so watch out for bees flying in and out of the holes and then sealing off the ends either with mud if they are masonry bees or leaves should they be leafcutters also look out for the tell tale signs of leaf cutter activity on nearby foliage where you may spot perfect shapes often crescent moons cut from the centre of a leaf. In spring 2022 the larvae emerge as new adults ad begin the cycle all over again.

Slightly higher off the ground, around three metres, and facing more towards the north east a series of five multi-species bird nesting boxes have been erected for our feathered friends to nest, lay eggs and bring on a brood in the late spring. Most are dotted close to the central roundabout and don’t be surprised if tree bumblebees move into one or more as the year progresses or even some enterprising grey squirrels.

The final habitats have also been added close to the roundabout and café a series of five bat boxes in two styles one of which has already attracted investigation from some blue tits. Bat boxes are positioned at around five metres above the ground in a south facing position that affords a clear line of flight back to the roost. We know there have been bats detected on previous bat walks in the park so hopefully now the addition of these nest boxes will mean some take up residence.

It will be great to see the new year unfold and find out how soon these new starter homes for wildlife are moved into. We can all keep a look out and message the Friends of Central Park Facebook page with your observations but please remember these are homes for wild animals so keep your distance so as not to disturb them but do enjoy our wonderful wildlife a key component in making our park a special place to go.

By Paul Hetherington, Director of Fundraising & Communications, BUGLIFE

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