Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Local Patch

From the excitement of the Eagle Owl during the last few days its back to my local patch at home, Stapleton on the outskirts of Bristol.

I think the picture here is a fairly good representation of the area, a mixture of houses, gardens and a wooded river valley. And do note the person walking down the alley. People are never far away here. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of places like this in Britain and I would imagine they'll all be bursting with wildlife. Obviously the river Frome helps bump up the biodiversity figures of this particular spot, bringing in the likes of otters, pike and kingfishers to the list, which is wonderful.

It's believed by some that ancient Britain would have been covered in dense wildwood, but other theories, which I subscribe too, suggest a more mosaic landscape, such as that found in ancient parts of the New Forest, where woods mix seemlessly with open grassy glades brimming with flowering plants and shrubs. This landscape was perfect for biodiversity and I think it's easy to draw parallels to my local patch. We've got the woods here and as for the glades well, the gardens make a great substitute, even if they are a little more manicured. Its really not hard to draw comparisons with our distant past with a bit of imagination. The only real difference is the volume of people and the control and disruption they bring. Its by no means insignificant with regards to animals like otters, as I've mentioned in earlier posts, but its not all negative either. 

For starters, I am sure bird feeders will he having an effect and the bumble bees love the lavender in the window boxes. Garden ponds create breeding grounds for frogs and newts and I know most summers the roof of the 1970's house opposite plays home to over 150 pipistrelle bats. Humans are not all bad where nature is concerned.

This habitat of ancient woodland, river filled valley, back gardens and suburban housing is the back drop to my nature notes and I will attempt to describe them all in greater detail as the year progresses.

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