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Wildlife at Weoley Castle

Today Weoley Castle ruins provide a home for a rich collection of wildlife. The mixture of semi-natural woodland, grassland, scrub, hedgerows and deadwood provide ecological interest and habitat diversity. Within two kilometres of the site there are numerous wildlife corridors, such as the Dudley Number 2 Canal and the Bourn Brook, which enable a far ranging movement of species.

The Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) has long been associated with the castle. Fox skulls have been found in the undergrowth around the medieval fishponds.

 

Fox

Whilst there is no water in the fishponds, the area is damp and provides a suitable habitat for amphibians such as toads and newts. This environment attracts many types of insects, which in turn provides an excellent food source for bats. Species such as the Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellas pipistrellus) find the mature trees around the site ideal for resting and roosting. The Pipistrelle is the smallest and commonest bat in Britain and will often emerge before sunset to hunt moths, gnats and other small insects.

 

Common Pipistrelle Bat

The Greater Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) can often be seen around the site with its distinctive bouncing flight searching for grubs and insects within the bark of trees. Listen out for its unmistakeable ‘drumming’ display during the Spring. The Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) now a common visitor to urban parks and gardens can also be seen darting low and fast along the castle hedgerow in pursuit of its prey or soaring high on rounded wings.

Not all wildlife enhances the castle ; the Mason bee (Osmia rufa) has caused damage to the ruins by burrowing into the soft stone. These are solitary bees and do not swarm or produce honey or beeswax. However, they play an important role in the pollination of fruit and flowers growing nearby.