NATURE NOTES AUGUST 2017


OTTER  (LUTRA LUTRA)

 

The Otter differs considerably from the Common Musteled type by ts perfect adaptation to an amphibious way of life.It has a longish body which is very agile and a wide flat topped head with long tactile whiskers and short ears. The tail is long and strongly thickened at the base, and the Otters toes are connected by a short web.The Otters coat, short and thick, is very much prized as fur. In the past it was quite abundant near waters throughout Europe, occuring  also in North Africa and in Asia as far as Java and Sumutra, a similar species being found in North America. As a result of many years of persecution when it was hunted for both its fur and as a threat to fisheries, it has completely disappeared from may areas and is very rare in others.It frequents both  flowing and still waters, mostly in localities with inaccessible ,overgrown banks in the upper reaches of rivers. Its present situation is uncertain, as Otters are shy, wandering animals and change their habitats very quickly. In the water they move nearly as skilfully as fishes, which form together with crayfish, frogs and dryland vertebrates, the main part of the Otters diet. Its holt or den, is dug in high river banks, with the entrance often located under the water surface.








Mark Hutchison

Nature Officer

09 August 2017

Any queries about this article can be referred to MARK via our website (contact us)


WILDFLOWER PATCH - JULY 2014



Some pictures of the wildflower patch which has turned out remarkably well considering the amount of Chickweed which is present.

























Ian Ireland 
01 Aug 14





ORCHIDS IN THE PARK

Sorry they are not the exotic kind but a  number of common orchids have appeared throughout Muir Wood Park - see photos. 




























Ian Ireland
12Jun14








WILDFLOWER PATCH 30 SEPTEMBER 2013 


             Compare this photograph with the one taken in August - note that all the blue flowers have been replaced with pink and white ones.












                                                    WILDFLOWER PATCH MAY 2013

                                                                            





                                                   WILDFLOWER PATCH AUGUST 2013


                    


                                       








LIST OF BIRDS SEEN IN OR NEAR MUIR WOOD PARK

(Compiled by Mike Bennie  May 2012)


Kestrel - Sparrow Hawk - Herring Gull -   Lesser Black Backed Gull - Black Headed Gull

Wood Pigeon - Collared Dove - Tawny Owl - Swift - Swallow - House Martin - Great Spotted Woodpecker

Pied Wagtail - Grey Wagtail - Starling - Magpie - Rook - Carrion Crow - Jackdaw - Wren - Dunnock  

 Willow Warbler - Chiffchaff - Blackcap - Goldcrest - Robin - Blackbird - Song Thrush - Mistle Thrush   

 Redwing - Great Tit - Blue Tit -Coal Tit - Long Tailed Tit - Tree Creeper - House Sparrow - Chaffinch 

Greenfinch - Bullfinch - Goldfinch - Siskin


Seen flying overhead - Heron - Mallard - Pink Feet Geese -Buzzard - Great Black Backed Gull  

                                        Common Gull - Field Fare - Redpoll - Oyster Catcher.


 

Entered by Ian Ireland

15 July 2012







BIRD AND BAT BOXES IN MUIR WOOD PARK

FEBRUARY 2012



 BOX No.             1          2         3         4       5        6        7       8         9        10

BOX TYPE       BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BAT   BAT   BAT   BAT   BAT   BIRD   BIRD

EVIDENCE         
Y         N        Y         -         -        -         -         -         Y        N
 OF USE



BOX No.            
11        12       13       14       15        16        17         18       19

BOX TYPE
        BAT   BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BIRD

EVIDENCE         
-         Y         N          N        N         Y          Y         N         N
 OF USE



BOX No.            
20        21       22        23       24     25

BOX TYPE
       BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BIRD   BAT   BAT

EVIDENCE
          Y         N         Y         Y         -        -
 OF US                                  Old egg
                                               in nest

It is difficult to determine whether a bat box has been used.

THERE IS ALSO ONE OWL BOX.

9 BIRD BOXES OUT OF A TOTAL OF 17 SHOW EVIDENCE OF USE= 53%.


Compiled by - Mark and Ian.  20Feb12






              





BIRDS OF MUIR WOOD PARK

As observed by Members of Friends of Muir Wood Park



2004-2012


Birds most frequently seen:

Blackbird   Blue Tit   Coal Tit   Chaffinch   Carrion Crow   Dunnock   Great Tit   Jackdaw   Magpie   Wood pigeon   Wren


Frequently seen:


Starling   House Sparrow   Feral Pigeon   Collared Dove   Gulls   Sparrow Hawk   Buzzard


Occasionally seen:

Greater Spotted Woodpecker   Treecreeper   Song Thrush   Bullfinch   Greenfinch   Goldfinch   Blackcap


Seasonal:

Tawny Owls are heard and seen in late Autumn. At this time juveniles seek new territories with suitable breeding sites. FMWP have installed 1 box in order to encourage one to take up residence.


Seasonal Migrants:

Autumn/Winter/Early Spring:

Mistle Thrush   Redwing   Fieldfare


Spring/Summer breeding species:

Chiff Chaff



MAMMALS OF MUIR WOOD PARK

2004-2012


Mammals:

Grey Squirrel   Rabbit   Fox   Pippestrelle Bat  Vole


AMPHIBIANS


Frog


BUTTERFLIES AND BEES


Orange Tip Butterfly   Whites   Small Tortoiseshell   Peacock   Red Admiral

Buff Tailed Bumble Bee   Red Tailed


 __________________________________________________________________________________________________

THE TREES OF MUIR WOOD PARK


Trees and shrubs present in 2004:

Ash   Sessile Oak   Horse Chestnut   Sycamore   Poplar   Birch   Goat Willow   Norway Maple   White Beam   Rowan   Holly

 Gean (Wild Cherry)   Yew   Elder   Hazel   Blackthorn   Hawthorn   Dog Rose   Bramble   Honeysuckle   Ivy
  




Many native trees and shrubs have been planted throughout the woodland and in the N and SW corners of the park since FMWP was formed in January 2005, principally following thinning and felling as part of the Woodland Management Plan carried out by Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust.

In Spring 2006 ,under the guidance of ELGT and CEC,Nether Currie Primary pupils and FMWP planted a native species hedge along the Southern boundary
in order to increase the biodiversity of the park by providing food and shelter for insects,birds and mammals.


Wildlife Hedge:

Holly   Blackthorn   Guelder Rose   Gean   Hazel   Hawthorn


Northern Boundary along Muir Wood Road  (CEC planting):

Ornamental Cherry   Rowan


North West Corner
Mix of Native and non-native trees and shrubs including:

Birch   Rowan   Wild Cherry   Laburnum   Hawthorn   Dog Rose   Blackthorn   Lilac   Buddliea   Cotoneaster



FLORA

(As observed by FMWP)


Wildflowers present at the start of the project in 2005 and added to or introduced.

Key:            Present - P       Added to - A      Introduced - I      Re-introduced - RI

                    ( )  denotes confirmation needed.

Bluebell  A. 
Both Native and hybridises present. Only the native endymion scripta have been planted by CEC and FMWP.
The larger less delicate Spanish Bluebell is a garden escapee. Unfortunately it has hybridised with the native form to the detriment of our native bees.

Buttercup  P    Crocus  A    Common Spotted Orchid  dactylorhiza fuchsia - this was first spotted having arrived naturally in Summer 2011.

Cow Parsley  P    Daffodils  P    Dandelion  P    Feverfew  P (garden escapee)    Few Flowered Leek  P    Field Daisy  P

Foxglove  I    Dog Violet  I    Garlic Mustard  P    Herb Robert  A    Hog Weed  P    Honesty  P 
( garden escapee)

Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower  P  ( bloomed in profusion in the company of Speedwell and Buttercups when absence of grass cutting allowed)

Leopards Bane  I    Lesser Celandine  P    Lesser Stichwort  P    Pink Purslane  P   Primrose  I    Quill scilla  P ( variety to be confirmed)

Ramsons  RI    Red Campion  A    Speedwell  P    Sweet Woodruff  I    Wood Avens A    Wood Sorrel  RI


Any addition, amendments or comments about this list can be made via our website.


Margo Arnot

Nature Officer

January 2012




.






AUTUMN NATURE UPDATE

08-12-2011

Walking through Muir Wood Park on a sunny Autumn day was a pleasant and rewarding experience.The fruits of the Friends Group, Nether Currie Primary School and the local community, to plant and manage the woodland and green space of Muir Wood Park for the benefit of the wildlife, are to be seen all around. In the native species hedge, planted in 2007 be Nether Currie pupils, Guelder Rose has fruited for the first time. Guelder Rose berries resemble Elder berries but are poisonous.The number of Hazel nuts in the hedge increased this year, but quickly disappeared. Another first was a sprig of holly bearing berries on a young tree that has been exposed to sunlight by the felling operations in 2008/9.

Female Hollies do not fruit if they do not receive enough light.Also the ratio of females to males is low.Nobody is sure why, one theory is that this is somehow linked to centuries of exploitation by human gatherers.
Artificial berries are cheap and durable. They can be attached to non fruiting holly or any evergreen. Their use will benefit trees, and birds too will appreciate our restraint, also more berries will be available for propagation.

Rowan, Whitebeam and Hawthorns have added their contribution to the food supplies of mammals and birds.
Has anyone out there seen any acorns lying around? I for one have not. Are the trees not mature enough to produce any, do the squirrels run away with them as soon as they fall or am I just not very observant?

The patch of wildflower/cottage garden mix sown by the
JIM team has been in flower up to the time of writing, providing nectar for late insects and a welcome touch of colour. On 22nd November a Bumble Bee was seen flying in the area.

Mature Ivy is in flower and will provide nectar for insects throughout the Winter months. Ivy provides shelter for hibernating insects and mammals such as bats, squirrels dreys and roosting opportunities for birds during the Winter, and nesting sites in Spring.


City of Edinburgh Parks Department staff have provided and sited four flower tubs on request from the Committee. These contain a mix of shrubs, herbs and perennial flowers. These will provide another nectar source and visual enhancement.




Margo Arnot


Nature Officer


12 December 2011.








WILDLIFE - MAY TO SEPTEMBER 2011


(By Margo Arnot)




Over the Summer we have seen an increase in the number of wildflower species blooming in Muir Wood Park, both from natural regeneration and from planting. The most notable was a Common Spotted Orchid found in July, in the Eastern section of the woodland by Ian Ireland. Common Spotted Orchids have been seen growing in several locations around Currie this Summer.

"More than 50 species of orchid grow in Britain. Many are rare but the seeds are so light that the wind can carry them for hundreds of miles, and for this reason orchids sometimes spring up in unexpected places.The seeds are also very small, and development slow; it can take years for seedlings to grow and,many years after that for flowers to appear. The Common Twayblade, for example, takes 15 years to develop from seed to flower".
Extract from the AA Book of the Countryside. For further information on orchids see "Plant Life' website.

Other newly observed species of flower (possibly previously missed) have been Greater and Lesser Stitchwort, Ragged Robin, Ragwort and St. John's Wort. The patch of sown wildflower and cottage garden mix has been glorious this year and continues to delight, attracting many bees, hoverflies and butterflies.
(See picture below)






On a wet day in July,
JIM (Jack - Ian - Mark ) +Mark Junior and myself, planted Bog plants purchased from Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership, in an area of ditch next to the path. Species planted were Yellow Flag Iris, Water Avens and Sneezewort. Marsh Marigold seeds were sown and Foxgloves and Teazels planted.

On the avian front, there has been evidence of Blue Tits using the nest boxes. Sadly this evidence came from a box lying on the ground, which contained an egg and two dead chicks. As many as four Buzzards at a time have been circling over the park, also evidence of Sparrowhawk kills have been reported.


Rowan, Elder, Hawthorn and Whitebeam berries, Hazel nuts, fungi, brambles and Autumn tints are now providing interest to nature spotters young and old, and the promise of a Winter larder for wildlife.


As we move into Autumn, the animal residents of Muir Wood are preparing safe, warm accommodation for the Winter and laying in food stores.Squirrels are busy strengthening their dreys and burying caches of nuts, and Wood mice are  making nests of grasses and leaves in secure places such as Bramble patches.Hedgehogs, Britain's only mammal truly to hibernate, will be eating as many slugs, snails and other invertebrates, in order to build up fat reserves to see them through to Spring.Hedgehogs need safe places such as under log piles, in thickets and readily available bedding, dried grasses and leaves.
FMWP remember the needs of these mammals when caring for the park.We can all do our bit for our spikey friend by not being too tidy in our gardens whilst carrying out Autumn tidy ups. We will be rewarded by their pest controlling activities and by the thrill, if we are lucky, of late evening sightings.  




19September 2011