Spring at Steenberg’s will be a busy time for our contractors Esh, as they power towards completing the build in Summer 2021. But we know it’s also a busy time for our feathered friends in the Ouseburn, as our ecologists recorded sixteen different bird species around the site over a two-our period when carrying out their surveys back in 2018. Along with more common sightings such as Blackbird, Wren, Blue Tit and Robin, they also spotted Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Oystercatcher and Song Thrush.
Understanding the rich ecosystem surrounding us at Steenberg’s Yard really helped the design team to create new habitats for Ouseburn’s urban wildlife. We incorporated bird boxes, bat tubes and nesting cups within the structure and will be planting around 30 different tree, bush and plant species within the landscape and gabions ledges. Species include Rosemary, Lavender, Fig trees, Apple trees, Plums trees, ferns and grasses. We’ve also stepped the gabion supports along the river edge to provides two levels of additional habitat, the low level will naturally colonise with estuarine plants and animals and the upper level will be seeded with 5 native estuarine grasses.
The lighting at Steenberg’s Yard has also been carefully designed and tuned in terms of intensity and colour to reduce impact on birds and bats and we are also working with our partners in the landscape team at Newcastle City Council to plant the former cattle ramp, which neighbours the site, with bird, bee and butterfly-friendly species.
Lowri Bond, Development Manager at PfP igloo said, ‘This year especially, we’ve all felt the benefit of having some connection with nature and we’re so lucky to have it on our doorstep in the Ouseburn. We’ve worked really hard to make sure that the Steenberg’s Yard community enjoys feeling close to the nature surrounding us here. As well as being able to watch visitors to the riverbank and bats using the Ouseburn as a superhighway at dusk, there will be simple ways to attract birds, bees and butterflies to your outdoor terrace. Our new residents might try a nyjer feeder or planting some Teasel in pots to attract the local Goldfinch. They are such a special sight.’
Hints, tips and information is also available from the RSPB and from 29th – 31st January 2021 you can join in the Big Garden Bird Watch taking place nationwide.