Optimism as Edinburgh park reports more animal sightings

A kingfisher at Figgate Park. Picture: Anthony Robson

A kingfisher at Figgate Park. Picture: Anthony Robson

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WITH a little help from the television hit Planet Earth II, the natural world is well and truly back on the agenda.

And while the series, fronted by wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough, has drawn to a close, things in the Capital are in fact just getting started.

These stunning pictures show just what you might be able to spot during a visit to Figgate Park, the expanse of moorland between Duddingston and Portobello.

Recent reported sightings include one of its most popular residents, “Figgy” the kingfisher, and plans are now afoot to help other species flourish.

Anthony Robson, a committee member in the Figgate Friends group, is among those fighting their corner.

As well as capturing the park’s wildlife on camera, the 40-year-old has been working with other members to give its animals a better home.

He said: “We have done quite a lot already and we’ve got some major plans for the following year.

“As well as bird tables we have put up quite a lot of bird boxes to help the smaller birds which are visiting.

“We also have a butterfly border in one section of the park [and] have been looking at things like automatic bird feeders. They are on little platforms out in the water and disperse food at certain intervals.

“It’s great people come down and feed the birds but there can be an issue when birds eat too much processed bread.”

And it seems their efforts are paying off, with the park team noticing an increase in the number and range of animals.

Last year eagle-eyed visitors spotted a Mandarin duck, pictured bottom left, and hopes are high that it might return.

Mr Robson said the park’s flourishing bird population could also be put down to improved water quality thanks to Government support and local clean-up operations.

He added: “We have been getting more and varied wildlife visiting, there always seems to be something new.

“We are seeing the kingfishers more now and that’s all to do with the water quality.

“There are a few other species like the dipper and they are only there if the water is clean. It’s definitely an indication the water quality is getting better.”

The group is now calling on visitors to leave some food on its bird tables and is also on the hunt for new volunteers.

“We are quite a small group so it’s always fantastic to get more members,” Mr Robson added.

Anyone wanting to get involved should visit facebook.com/Figgate.