Five birds, animals and insects you can spot in Countesswells this Earth Day

22nd April 2019

Today marks the 49th annual Earth Day! Every year individuals and organisations around the world act towards building a healthier environment. This action not only benefits our climate and wildlife but those of our future generations too.

With David Attenborough leading the charge, this earth day is focused on protecting species. Around the world people are making moves in every way possible to safeguard animals across the globe including elephants, giraffes and whales. But protection of our species doesn’t just mean exotic or endangered animals in far-away places. It can start at home in your back garden or on the street you live on or in your local park.

With this theme in mind, at Countesswells we have partnered with the North East Biodiversity Partnership (NESBP) to ensure that we do our bit to protect local wildlife, so it can flourish in the community.

And across the town, there’s plenty of green spaces ready to explore. The waterways, trees and plants in Countesswells have become a haven for locals and wildlife alike whilst neighbouring woods have attracted all kinds of animals, insects and birds which use the community of Countesswells as a green corridor.

Here are just some of the natural neighbours you can come across:

Bees

Bees are essential to a healthy environment, they are the perfect pollinators and are one of the first insects to appear in spring! They love clean air, varied greenspaces and clean water so look out for them buzzing around the community on a sunny day. There are over 24 species of bee in the UK and 19 of those are found in Scotland. With the landscape at Countesswells creating the perfect natural home it makes sense to take some easy steps to ensure the bees thrive. Avoiding bee-harming pesticides such as neonicotinoids and look to boost the bees through buying locally produced honey and planting flowers rich in nectar.

Grey Heron

The Heron is a large and distinctive bird with a wingspan of up to 6ft. It’s usually seen near water sources, particularly where it can catch its favourite dinner – fish and frogs! Did you hear about the grey heron that was recently spotted in Countesswells? Read all about Hagan here. The Scandinavian name means a place of safety and sanctuary, which we think reflects the peaceful setting of the community. Take a walk by the Cults Burn or the Sustainable Drainage system ponds and see if you can spot him!

Red Kites

Red Kites are a magnificently graceful bird of prey, unmistakeable with its reddish tinged brown body, angled wings and forked tail. It was extinct in England, Ireland and Scotland in the 19th century but has now been successfully reintroduced by RSPB Scotland. Now almost 12 years since their return they are thriving in northern Scotland and can be commonly seen around Aberdeen, so keep your sharp eyes on the sky for a chance to see a soaring Red Kite.

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs love our parks, bushes and hedges and their favourite foods are earthworms, crunchy beetles and slugs – making them a great help to any gardening enthusiasts who want those hungry slugs kept at bay. The best time to glimpse these handy little pest controllers is at night-time as they’re nocturnal and spend almost 18 hours a day sleeping! If you want to help your spikey neighbours feel at home don’t use slug pellets and leave out a dish of water or some meaty pet food as a snack for them in the summer months.

Red Squirrels

Did you know that the previously rare red squirrels are now being spotted more and more in Scotland? Feeder box monitoring and camera trapping in Countesswells Woods showed that their numbers are on the rise and the woods are now free from the threat of their non-native grey counterparts. Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels (SSRS), who carried out the research, say that increasing the numbers of their favourite tree species will support the population to grow even further. Look out for these resilient furry red friends particularly in Countesswells Woods and help the SSRS with their research by reporting any sightings. Or if you want to encourage them into your garden fill a feeding box with wheat, linseed, pine nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and fruits like apples or carrots.

As part of the official Earth Day activities you can join the Silent Squirrel Spotting Safari at Hazlehead Woods, an early morning walk aiming to spot native red squirrels. Or take a guided walk in Countesswells Forest with a ranger to learn about sustainable forest management and carbon capture.

To find out more information about Earth Day check out:

https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/endangered-species/earthday2019/

We love to hear about all of your wildlife sightings, let us know what you spot or send us your photos on Facebook and Twitter!