Wardie Playing Fields is part of an important green network linking gardens and hedgerows in our area. By protecting this space, we are helping wildlife survive in this urban environment.
Whilst most of the Playing Fields are managed as sports pitches, in recent years Edinburgh Leisure have started leaving an unmown margin around the perimeter. Our group is delighted with the result, which is providing a better habitat for both flora and fauna and increasing the biodiversity there.
The natural perimeter has a rich variety of vegetation. Bramble occurs against most of the boundary walls and extends to form impenetrable thickets in places. Wild raspberries, dog rose, willow and occasional crab apple trees are also present amidst tall grasses and swathes of rosebay willow herb. The Friends intend to enhance the diversity of vegetation on the fringes of the Fields by planting native trees and shrubs and enriching wildflower swards. We will also choose plants that attract birds, bees and other insects.
An oyster catcher and a curlew in the foreground hunt for worms on the playing fields
The Fields are an important environment for bird life. As well as garden species such as sparrows, tits and finches, flocks of shore birds feed here in winter months, including oystercatchers and curlews.
Curlews are the largest wading bird to be seen in the British Isles and are present throughout the year around the coasts and inland. They can be easily identified by their brown colour and long down-curving bill. They have an unmistakeable haunting call, accompanied by a bubbling trill in the breeding season. They eat molluscs and crustaceans as they patrol the shores, and over grasslands they hunt for worms and insects.
These distinctive birds visit the Fields during the winter months to feed, particularly when the tide is in preventing them from feeding at the shore. The proximity to the coast makes Wardie an important feeding site for them.
We ask that dog walkers keep dogs on a short lead when the curlews are present, and avoid walking in that area so as not to disturb them. Members of our group are monitoring them and keeping track of their numbers.
Residents also report of seeing other notable birds such as Great Spotted Woodpeckers, no doubt attracted by garden bird feeders. And at dusk, you night be lucky enough to spot pipistrelle bats on the hunt for insects.
We welcome reports of other wildlife sightings on the Playing Fields. Please use the contacts form on the last page.