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Wildlife

ant on alchemilla Credit Carol McDaid

Ant on Alchemilla leaf (photo by Carol McDaid)

Shandy Hall Gardens are full of wildlife

Birds from large red kites and buzzards to tiny goldcrests can be seen, and small mammals such as stoats, squirrels and voles. Nearly 450 species of moths have been recorded in the gardens, and a wide variety of insects, wild plants and fungi can be found.

Working alongside this wildlife, and supporting it, is central to the management of the garden.  The health of the garden is considered from the microbial life in the soil on upwards, rejecting poisons and artificial chemicals. The grass is studded with circles of daisies, clover and self-heal, loved by the resident bees. Ivy and hedges are cut only outside the nesting season and care is taken not to disturb ground nesting birds. Insect preferences are considered in the planting.

Ladybird hibernation Shandy Hall Gardens

Ladybirds clustering to hibernate

Animals seen in the gardens:

Rabbit, mole, squirrel, stoat, rat, four species of bat, weasel, hedgehog, wood mouse, vole, shrew, deer, fox, hare. Amphibians: Frog, toad and newt.

Wild birds seen in the gardens:

Barn owl, blackbird, bluetit, bullfinch, buzzard, chaffinch, chiffchaff, coal tit, collared dove, crow, cuckoo, firecrest, goldcrest, goldfinch, great tit, greenfinch, jackdaw, jay, kestrel, long-tailed tit, mistle thrush, nuthatch, partridge, pheasant, red kite, redwing, robin, rock dove, rook, song-thrush, sparrow, sparrowhawk, spotted fly-catcher, starling, swallow, swift, tawny owl, tree-creeper, wagtail, woodpecker, wood pigeon, wren.

There is a rookery in the wild garden. Also seen: long-eared owl, hawfinch, heron.

Insects found in the gardens:

The wide variety of insect life led to regular moth trapping from 2004 to explore the biodiversity of Shandy Hall Gardens. Nearly 450 different species have been recorded in the gardens so far. Moths are important pollinators, and food for birds and bats. Their world is a fascinating one, rarely seen, since moths are invisible by day (camouflage) and unseen by night unless a light trap is used. The moths that are caught are identified the following morning, recorded and then released. Read more about them on the Shandy Hall Moth Blog where a comprehensive list of moths identified at Shandy Hall can be found.

The volunteer gardeners work with the aim of balancing the enjoyment of human visitors to the garden with the needs of the creatures who live here, encouraging the widest diversity possible.