30 Days Wild takes place in the UK throughout June. I'll try to blog something about it every day, though that won't always be possible!
As many readers of this blog will know, we started visiting our local cemeteries every day when the first COVID lockdown was imposed, the two cemeteries creating an ideal Daily Exercise Route. I've been visiting regularly ever since, though these days my visits are no longer daily. Over the past couple of years, I have also been employed to carry out wildlife surveys (now completed) of all of the council managed cemeteries in Edinburgh.
I can definitely say that cemeteries can be excellent places for wildlife! Of course, different cemeteries are managed differently, those that are still in use for regular burials need to be kept very tidy, but can still offer useful habitats for birds and insects. Cemeteries attached to historically interesting churches are usually also kept fairly tidy. Cemeteries that are no longer used for burials and that are not attached to churches are, in Edinburgh at least, allowed to grow a bit wilder.
North Merchiston Cemetery is one of those cemeteries. My main impetus for visiting the cemetery this lunchtime was to pick litter. There have been a number of big concerts at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh over the past few weeks. This is great, it's good to have big concerts in our city and the stadium is an excellent venue. Not so great, however, is the litter left over afterwards. Specifically, plastic feathers from feather boas that were sold at the events.
The cemetery isn't exactly on the doorstep of the stadium, but I counted at least 20 such feathers around the cemetery as I collected these and other bits of rubbish.
Edinburgh Council is carrying out deep cleans of the area around the stadium after the events, but this doesn't prevent lightweight rubbish such as these feathers from littering the city (they are literally everywhere!). The council doesn't have the power to ban the sale of plastic feather boas, but also doesn't seem inclined to actually make the point that that would be a good idea, as it would stop the problem at source.
Apart from that, I had a lovely time in the cemetery, enjoying the sunshine.
One of the laburnum trees in the cemetery, in full bloom
A dog rose in full bloom
A Whitebeam tree in full bloom
A close up of the Whitebeam flowers
Buttercups and Daisies
As I've mentioned in previous posts, there were only a few insects around. A couple of Orange Tip butterflies, a Speckled Wood Butterfly and a few Bumblebees of different species. Edinburgh Council does not use herbicides or pesticides in this cemetery (except for very focussed applications of herbicide to remove invasive Japanese Knotweed).
If you're interested in the wildlife in burial grounds, you may be interested in Churches Count on Nature 2023 which starts tomorrow, Saturday 3 May and is part of Love Your Burial Ground Week, focusing on the brilliant wildlife to be found in churchyards and chapel yards.
Visit a Cemetery for 30 Days Wild
Pick Litter for 30 Days Wild