Brunswick Road recreation ground is a typical grassy space, somewhere for people to walk their dogs about, a play area for kids, and some five-a-side football and a basketball hoop. It is bordered by houses on all four sides

This Google map predates the work done by the Council on improving this for wildlife, it is probably from around 2010

The council focused their effort on the western part of the rec (to the left), planting some trees, but also leaving the grass long over the summer in the north-western section in the area behind the existing line of trees. Anecdotally this is supposed to be good for wildlife in general and sparrows as well.

One of the sparrow residents in Spring 2017

The long grass allows insects to colonise, like grasshoppers, and the seeds are food for the sparrows too. All the sports features have been retained, the football area has been upgraded.

the grass is left long in this area in summer

As well as the grass, they had planted hedges and shrubs along the edges of the rec, where it borders onto the back gardens of the houses. This gives continuous cover for the sparrows to move around this corner

shrubs along the western edge
shrubs along the edge

This is along the western side looking towards the north-west corner. It's hard to say it's beautiful, but from the point of view of the wildlife it is shelter

sparrows lurking in the hedge and ivy, March 2017

and perhaps food - the parks department did well in taking this part for wildlife, working with the existing trees and wild areas while keeping most of the rec for people to use.

The sparrows have taken up residence in the new bushes, along with other common garden birds. There are now two notable colonies, one along the southern edge where there are some legacy ivy bushes, and the new one on the north-western corner. They have also broken out across the road to establish on the other side of Brunswick Road opposite the exit from the rec. Although sparrows are occasionally observed in Brunswick road, this part of the road seems to hold a lot more than I recall it used to

2016 sparrow sightings
Sparrow observations in and around the rec, 2016
shrubs along the northern edge
shrubs along the edge in winter - still some shelter from predators

Overall, this looks like a win for the sparrows, a rare example of an increase in the hedge habitat they seem to love.

The middle section of trees. In the summer the grass is long, and on a warm day this sometimes fizzes with the stridulation of crickets or grasshoppers.
Male sparrow keeping watch, March 2017

  1. "Garden hedges" RSPB, (In gardens, hedges are often the most important feature for wildlife...) from