Wildlife

What to look out for

  • Our wildlife haven and the ‘Youse’ river Ouse restoration project
  • Some of our more treasured bird species such as the green woodpecker or tawny owl
  • The wide variety of dragonflies and damselflies in the summer months
  • Different species of butterfly across the garden and parkland in spring and summer
  • Ducks, geese and moorhens on the lakes

Feathered friends

Garden birds

Long tailed tit © National Trust

Our garden birds can be seen and heard in the trees, lawns and undergrowth all around the garden. They include the blue, great and long-tailed tits, robins, jays, willow warblers, grey wagtails, blackcaps and chaffinches among others.

Water birds

Mallard ducks on Ten Foot Pond © NT_NEN_Sheffield Park

Our four lakes are a popular residence for families of mallard ducks, moorhen, coots, Canada geese and of course the pair of swans that are a regular feature of many photos. Herons can also be spotted from time to time.

River and meadow birds

It’s easier to hear than see the shy green woodpecker © Jans Canon

We are lucky enough to be home to one of the most coveted river birds - the kingfisher. They are not that easy to spot but catching that flash of red and blue is well worth the wait. Another colourful resident of the wildlife haven is the green woodpecker which can be seen regularly in the parkland, where it feeds on ants.

Birds of prey

keep your eyes peeled for our owl © Ken Jones

Birds of prey are more elusive and almost exclusively inhabit and hunt the parkland area. Sparrow hawks are the most common but kestrels and buzzards can been seen circling overhead and a tawny owl has occasionally been spotted in Ringwood Toll and on the parkland.

The dragonflies of Sheffield Park

A female banded demoiselle

A female banded demoiselle

A regular survey is carried out at Sheffield Park to monitor the different dragonfly and damselfly species that live in the garden and parkland. Over a ten year period the results show a positive growth in numbers and they make a spectacular sight flying over the lakes in the garden and skimming the top of the grass in the wildlife haven, near the river.

Wildflowers

Common spotted orchid 

East Park

We have been managing an area of meadow in East Park for a couple of years to encourage native wildflower species. This includes a grazing regime to create a more traditional meadow habitat. Look out for Common spotted orchids in early summer and bluebells in the more wooded areas.

Wildflowers

Cowslip © Pete Tasker

Flood meadow

We are also involved in an ongoing project with Sussex University and Wakehurst Place to reintroduce a range of wildflowers to the flood meadow. Thousands of seeds and ‘plugs’ of cowslips, ox-eye daisy and other species have been sown and planted by staff and volunteers and the area is being specially managed to allow them to establish.

Bats

Pipistrelle bats

Twilight is a beautiful time in the garden and the sight of bats flying over the lakes adds to the magic. Although the garden is not open at that hour of the day, we do organise bat walks from time to time.

Butterflies

Comma butterfly in Walk Wood

The garden and parkland are great habitats for butterflies. We can have hundreds of meadow browns across the parkland, peacocks in the Ringwood Toll copse, commas in East Park and clouded yellows have been seen in good migration years.

Eels

One of our resident eels from Lower Woman’s Way Pond

We have resident eels living in the lakes and there are plans for 2014 to install an eel pass to encourage them to return from Arnos Brook up the culvert at the bottom of the lakes to breed.

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