Old friend makes a comeback

VISITORS to Holywells Park and Landseer Park in Ipswich have been treated to rare glimpses of one of Britain's most colourful birds this year - the bullfinch.

VISITORS to Holywells Park and Landseer Park in Ipswich have been treated to rare glimpses of one of Britain's most colourful birds this year - the bullfinch.

Both parks are county wildlife sites and the presence of the Bullfinch is just one feature of a host of exciting flora and fauna.

The bullfinch is a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species and was listed as a priority in May this year among declining species and habitats.

This bird is one of 1,149 species and 65 habitats listed as priorities for conservation action.

The Suffolk Biological Records Centre is currently reviewing this list to determine which new species and habitats are relevant to our county. These will then be added to Suffolk's current BAP list of 57 species and 21 habitats.

Matt Berry, head park ranger at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “It is fantastic to be able to see such beautiful wildlife in our parks.

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“With the help of local volunteers, we have been working to enhance these sites for wildlife for several years and now it is paying off.”

In Holywells Park the council's park rangers and the Friends of Holywells Park have created an orchard with fruit trees, areas of woodland, and a hedgerow, which all suit the bullfinch. They eat the seeds and berries of a variety of plants and when these are scarce during the spring they turn to the buds of fruit trees - something that has caused problems for some fruit growers.

They bullfinch also nests in dense hedgerows, so the loss of hedgerows from over-trimming is a major factor in the decline of the species.

The orchard in Holywells Park is managed to benefit not only wildlife but also human visitors. Every year, the Friends group hold an Apple Day event and there is always plenty of fruit to go around for animals and people to enjoy. Orchards have become rare and are designated as BAP habitats, as are hedgerows, all of which help support the Bullfinch and many other species.

Have you seen any rare species in the parks of Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk