The Wildlife Garden 2015

Another New Year and the Community Wildlife Garden Volunteers have been busy getting the garden back into shape.

We have reduced the height of the privet hedge around the entrance to the garden, to open it up and let in more light.

  We have extended the existing display of Cornus alba (dogwood) running alongside the cascade.  It will look spectacular next winter once it’s established.

Unfortunately our pond has sprung a leak!  But that didn’t deter these swans from dropping in for a visit.  The pond will be repaired soon, in time for the spawning of frogs and newts.  Hopefully, it will be teeming with life in the coming months.

There is plenty of work to keep the volunteers occupied - mulching, planting, weeding, pruning and much, much more.  We will keep you posted on our progress.

In the meantime, here are some of the creatures who come to watch and keep us company while we work. 


It's getting cold!

Don't forget the birds and the wildlife as the temperatures drop! Stock up on good quality bird food (from the RSPB or good supplier) and also ensure fresh water is available too, especially when the ponds and puddles freeze over.

Have a wonderful winter and we hope to see you in The Regent's Park Wildlife Garden in 2012!


A burst of colour!

With Spring well and truly underway, now is the best time to come and visit our garden. With plants displaying beautiful colours and birds busy feeding their young, this tranquil oasis in the heart of London is a the perfect place to escape for a few minutes or hours and watch nature do it's dazzling thing!


A sad end to 2010

We end 2010 on a rather sad note at The Regent’s Park Wildlife Community Garden. Jill Dickens, a long standing and devoted volunteer passed away on the 27th December after a battle with illness over the past few months.

Jill loved our garden, devoted many hours to it and it will be hard for us all to imagine not having her never ending energy and enthusiasm encouraging us all to put in some extra effort whenever it was needed.

When it seemed unlikely that Jill would be able to return to work in the garden, an oak tree was planted as a gift to her for all the hard work and devotion she gave.

She will be missed by us all.

Of all the trees that grow so fair, Old England to adorn, Greater are none beneath the Sun, Than Oak and Ash and Thorn. Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn, good Sirs (All of a Midsummer morn)! Surely we sing no little thing, In Oak and Ash and Thorn! Rudyard Kipling



Autumn is taking hold in our garden and there is lots of work to be done.

Leave clearing takes up a lot of time, clearing out the bird boxes is another chore and thinning out and tidying up the beds is also on the 'must do' list.

Our pond has had a rough time lately, so this week we've been planting around the border to encourage wildlife back. As you can see from the picture, leaves love our pond too. It's important to clear these otherwise they will rot at the bottom of the pond.

If you're thinking about adding a pond to your garden, check out http://www.pondconservation.org.uk/

Remember, when clearing up the leaves and debris, to check for hedgehogs. They love to hideaway in a bundle for the winter. WIth bonfire night looming too, please double check that none of our spiky friends have wandered into the wrong place. If you find one and don't know what to do, please contact http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/


100th Post!

We celebrate the 100th blog entry with a some vibrant colour. As summer fades away, there is still plenty to see in our garden. The sunflowers are basking in the sunshine and the garden is full of wildlife including egyptian and canadian geese, bees, bats and plenty more.

Work has begun on renovating the pond. It didn't survive last winter and funding has been found to replace it with a new one ready for the next season. Ponds play an important role in the biodiversity of any wildlife garden. The provide breeding space for dragonfly, frogs and toads and are source of water for birds and mammals. If
you have space, think about creating your own. More information can be obtained from various organisations including http://www.pondconservation.org.uk/

We also have good news for cyclists. Users of Boris' bike scheme will be delighted to discover we have a bike docking station next to the entrance to our garden. (Just visible in the photograph above. There are three in The Regent's Park area, the other two are at ZSL London Zoo, one opposite the main entrance and the other in the main Zoo carpark. So, next time your pedalling around town, pop in and see our garden!


Burst of colour!

While the summer moves on and the grass goes brown from the sunshine, there is always something adding a little colour to our garden!


Blooming marvellous!

Even though London has been struggling with some very unseasonal weather, life continues to flower at the The Regent's Park Wildlife Garden.

All those long cold winter mornings with volunteers struggling to work through the rain, bitter wind and snow have paid off!

Come and see the results soon..........


Bursting with colour!

The warm weather has certainly woken our garden up! Just a few of weeks ago, it looked a little tired and in need of some tender care.

This week it looks splendid with blossom everywhere, late flowering daffodils and enormous amounts of bird activity as they devour the tasty food on offer. As well as the usual birdsong, chiff-chaffs could be heard chirping loudly too.

Finally, it was a delight to discover some rare native plants growing. Fritillaria meleagris, common name snake's head fritillaries can be seen enjoying the Spring sunshine.


Busy day!

Volunteers have been busy today planting a hazel copse in the wildlife garden close to the entrance. We're hoping that this native species will provide a green and pleasant covering for this once bare area that will prove attractive both to the birds and wildlife as well as our human visitors.

Sightings today included: Gt spotted woodpeckers (2), long tail tits (2), great tits (6), blue tits (6), greenfinches (2), egyptian geese (2), swans (4), coots (2), parakeets (2), crows (6), jays(2), magpies (3) and robin(1).


Attracting the birds in the city

Many visitors to our wildlife habit live in central London and don't have a garden. However, don't put that off you feeding the birds at home!

Purchase a simple window feeder (available from the RSPB, WWT and all good wildlife organisations), fill it with good quality food (premium sunflower seeds attract an array of birds) and place it in a good window, away from any ledges that can be reached by cats and wait.

You may be lucky and get birds visiting your home within hours, though it's usual to wait a few days. Be patient!

Once you start feeding the birds, remember to fill the feeder regularly: once they start visiting, they begin relying on you for food, so don't let them down!


Somewhere over the park......

Meanwhile elsewhere in The Regent's Park, after the rain poured one of our volunteers snapped our first rainbow of the year spanning the canal and into ZSL London Zoo.


Spring has finally arrived in NW1 with our Community Wildlife Garden already becoming very busy with wildlife.

The daffodils are blooming, ladybirds have been spotted (sorry...!) and the birds are gathering material for their nests.

In a few minutes our volunteers spotted (sorry again!) woodpeckers, blue, long-tail and great tits, greenfinches, bumblebees and robins.

It won't be long before the swifts arrive and the bats start visiting once again after what seems like a long hibernation.

So come and pay us and the wildlife a visit in our oasis of peace and wildlife in our brilliant capital city.


Birds flock to new feeders!

Two new feeders have been installed at our garden and have proved to be an instant hit with our array of feathered friends.

Blue, great and long-tail tits have been seen in large numbers, our friendly robin is also seen enjoying the feast and two spotted woodpeckers are regular visitors as well.

Pop in soon and see them enjoying the sunflower seeds and nuts!


The big freeze continues!

Work in the Wildlife Garden has come to a halt recently as it, like most of the country is covered in snow!

However, wildlife and particulary birds struggle to survive in these icy temperatures. Our feeders are getting extra attention from both the birds and the volunteers who are filling them as soon as the run out. Sightings this week include long tail tits, great and blue tits and a green woodpecker.

If you can, please put out extra food for your birds and where possible, water. Birds find it very difficult to find fresh water in these conditions, so a small bowl with clean tepid water left out in the morning will help.

Happy New Year!



Apart from humans, dogs and hedgehogs, there is another mammal that likes to visit us.

Our garden is the ideal place to watch bats flying against the dusk sky. It is especially designed to attract insects and as a result attracts bats hunting for food.

Come just as the sun goes down, find yourself a bench and it won't be long before you see them darting through the sky feeding on the insects and moths.

This photograph is a common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flying through Regent's Park.

There are many myths surrounding bats in particular that they are blind and the other is they get caught in your hair! Neither is accurate and you have nothing to worry about. They are keen to leave you alone while they search for food.

Bats do not make nests, but choose various places throughout the year to roost. Some prefer hollow trees, others caves, some use both at different times. Many shelter in buildings, behind hanging tiles and boarding, or in roof spaces. Bats are clean and sociable animals and spend many hours grooming themselves.

For several weeks in summer, female bats choose somewhere warm to gather in a maternity roost.

Here they have their babies, staying until the young are able to fly and feed themselves. A bat mothernormally has only a single baby in a year, and not always every year.

In August the young bats are around six to eight and begin to catch insects for themselves and no longer need their mothers’ milk. The summer maternity colonies begin to disperse and bats may move to autumn mating roosts.

Bats are often found roosting in houses, both modern and old. You may realise that you have bats roosting in your house during the summer months, when they are most likely to be active. If you do think you have bats, call the Bat Helpline (0845 1300 228) and ask for a copy of our ‘Living with bats’ booklet, which gives advice and information for roost owners.

It is illegal to harm or disturb bats, or deliberately alter their roost sites without first seeking advice – call the Bat Protection Trust Helpline (above) for more information. Bats need everyone’s help and protection. For more information about Bat Walks, supporting bat conservation and what to do if you find an injured bat, visit www.bats.org.uk


What a difference a year makes.......

Regular visitors to the garden and this blog will remember that last year we did some planting on the lake bank near the York Bridge. You can check out the entry for the 9th April 2008 to see the boggy mess!

A year later the once mud flat mess is filled with life. The rich plant life provides shelter for the birds, attracts an array of insects and maybe brightens a once dull corner of the lake.

The Garden is currently filled with Great Tits, many of them young birds that hatched this year. At one point today there were 20 sitting in the trees taking turns to gorge on the feeders will fill with nuts and seeds.

Next time you visit our garden, take a seat and within a minute or two watch the garden come to life.


Attention Geocachers!

A bit of help for 'geocachers' visiting the Wildlife Garden!

Curious? Visit www.geocaching.com


Hercules the hedgehog

The main aim of the Regent’s Park Wildlife Garden is to provide a safe and friendly environment for people to visit and wildlife to flourish.

Our non-intrusive gardening policy avoids the use of chemicals wherever possible, to use native plants that need little water to avoid draining precious resources and enrichment that includes a pond and bog to further the biodiversity of the garden.

Much of it is left to grow wild to provide cover for birds, to encourage butterflies and hopefully a safe haven for hedgehogs.

While we have seen plenty of birds,bats,dragonflies, butterflies, insects and moths, hedgehogs have never been seen in our garden even though Regent’s Park is the only park in London that has them. As nocturnal creatures, the chances of ever seeing them were remote!

That all changed yesterday. While doing some routine work, we discovered a baby hedgehog had fallen into a well. He was covered in mud and had no way of escaping. Fortunately, using a very thick pair of gloves, we were able to pull him out into safety.

Although covered in thick mud, it was clear that with some quick action, his chances of survival were good, so two volunteers rushed him off to a vet who deals with wild animals in distress.

After being cleaned up and given a tasty meal consisting of wet cat food, he was given the all clear this morning to return.

Once again, two volunteers went to Wood Green, collected the hedgehog and brought him back to the Park.

We’re pleased to report that Hercules was released back into a secluded area of the park and after a few seconds of getting his bearings, he dashed under cover for some well earned rest.

All the volunteers learnt a lot in 24 hours about hedgehogs!

The latin name is Erinaceus and our own British hedgehog is scientifically known as Erinaceus europaeus; it is the same species that occurs throughout most of the continent of Europe. In Britain it is found almost everywhere except some of the Scottish Islands, but tends to be scarce or absent from wet areas and pine forests. Uplands and mountainsides are not popular, probably because they lack both suitable food and suitable nesting places. Hedgehogs are well established in our urban habitat and can, somewhat surprisingly, survive very well in our cities, making extremely good use of cemeteries, railway land, wasteland and both public and private gardens.

They are a protected species and it is an offence to deliberately harm them. They are also in decline and need all the help and support they can get. If you are interested in doing your bit, whether in with hedgehog friendly gardening, or supporting the charities that work hard to look after them we found these organisations helpful:

http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/ proved to be a valuable resource as well as http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/ We’d also like to thank J F Staton and his assistant for caring for Hercules for absolutely no charge. If you live in North London and need any veterinary help, then give them a call on 020 8888 4523


Live in a London flat?

Visitors to our Wildlife Garden often tell us how they wished they lived in a house with a garden rather than in a flat.

The good news for the many Londoners (or any city dweller in fact) is that if you live in an apartment, attracting birds is fairly easy.

All you need is a stick-on bird feeder which you can purchase from the RSPB online site, fill it with tasty food and within a few days you should get lots of feathered visitors.

Volunteer Darren says 'It took a while for the birds to discover the feeder, but once they know it's there, providing the food is good quality, they will come back for more. The most frequent visitor is the Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) who love to gorge themselves on sunflower seeds. (This photo is the feeder on my window). I've tried mixed of food and discovered they don't like it (they toss the non sunflower element to one side for the pigeons!) and niger seed (which they love but it causes a terrible mess!).'

'The record I have so far is 18 goldfinches! Two perched on the feeder, three hanging on the wall waiting patiently and the others sitting on the tv aerials of the houses opposite my flat.

I also get the occasional Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) and Great tit (Parus major) but Goldfinches are by far my favourite visitors!'