In 2009, the Bristol Docks Estate Wildlife Survey and Assessment by Phil Quinn (Ecology and Landuse) and commissioned by Bristol City Council, was published. In this survey, Bathurst Basin was assessed to be a biodiversity hotspot of high value. Friends of Bathurst Basin are keen to support and encourage the rich variety of wildlife in this urban location.
The Bristol docks wildlife survey found over 425 different plant species in the Floating Harbour and had this to say about Bathurst Basin itself:
It also notes this about the wall that runs along the New Cut and connects with the outer walls of Bathurst Basin:
Planted mature trees line two sides of Bathurst Basin and the quayside in front of the Ostrich. These are mainly Norway Maples (Acer Platinoides) and Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior).
With the calm water of Bathurst Basin, the rapid tidal flow of the New Cut behind and the gardens and green spaces of the residential areas – particularly around Merchants Landing – the area has a wide variety of bird life. Some of these are noted below. If you have others to add to the list, or photos to share, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or posting on our Facebook page.
Black Headed Gull
Lesser Blackback Gull
Long Tailed Tit
Otters, one of the best-loved creatures on our waterways, have been seen in Bristol’s Floating Harbour and are probably one of the most urban populations of otter in the country. Nature officers at the city council first became aware of them in 2010 when they discovered otter droppings. They then commissioned a survey including placing a hidden camera, which has confirmed that otters are indeed living in and around the floating harbour.
More than one member of Friends of Bristol Basin has spotted otters in the Basin itself.
In the Bristol docks wildlife survey, the surveyors had extensive bat survey experience and any evidence or potential for bats was recorded. The survey notes that the Marchioness Shed, just outside the south-west corner of Bathurst Basin has potential for bats.
There are certainly plenty of bats in Bristol and the surrounding area. The Avon Bat Group in an article in Bristol Magazine stated that:
The most common Bristolian bats are the thumb-sized pipistrelles.
Bristol City Council lists Bathurst Basin quayside as one of the places in the Floating Harbour where fishing is allowed. The Council stresses that all fish must be returned to the water unharmed.
The Floating Harbour contains a rich diversity of fish, both freshwater and estuarine species, according to the 2009 survey. Anglers at Bathurst Basin have told us they catch bream, carp, roach and perch.