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  • hilly 5:32 pm on May 14, 2017
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    Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk on Friday 19th May 

    Bat Walk Poster 2017

    Bats are fully active in May after their winter hibernation, and the females are starting to form maternity colonies and look for suitable nursery sites, such as buildings or trees, getting ready for June when they give birth to a single tiny pup which they feed on their milk. So the first Friends of Shrewsbury Park bat walk of the year should be perfectly timed to see plenty of bats, provided the weather is favourable.

    Kris Inglis, Chair of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park sent details of the walk:

    Meet in the car park at twilight for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead the adventure using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
    Walk is free to members, £2 others (but free to join on the day)
    • Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather
    • Children must be accompanied by an adult
    • Walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and torches are helpful
    • Dogs must be kept on a lead
    If you have mobility issues or enquiries please contact us on werfsp@gmail.com and we will help you participate. The trail is a mix of paved path, gravel and grass.
    If it rains neither the bats nor us will be coming out!

    Summer is a busy time for bat surveyors: they will be walking their NBMP transects, such as that at Woodlands Farm, at the start and end of July looking for pipistrelles, noctules and serotines, then in August there’s the waterway survey for daubenton’s bats and other surveys such as the sunrise/sunset survey. Anyone can volunteer to help in these surveys, and the Bat Conservation Trust provide training in using bat detectors to identify bats, and even loan out bat detectors for the surveys.

    At the last Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk, last September, bats were detected almost immediately the walk started. Fingers crossed we’ll have similar luck this time.

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

    Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

     

     

     

     
  • hilly 8:05 pm on May 13, 2017
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    Barn Dances and Bee Walks at Woodlands Farm 

    Woodlands Farm Barn Dances Poster 2017

    There’s a chance to don your gingham, denim and Stetsons, grab your partner and dosey-doe at  Woodlands Farm Barn Dances on Saturday 3rd June and Saturday 8th July.  No skill or experience in barn dancing is required, and usually little is demonstrated at the dance: the steps and sequences are all called out by the band, the excellent Skinner’s Rats.  Hannah from the farm e-mailed the details:

    Woodlands Farm Barn Dances
    Come along to one of the Woodlands Farm Summer barn dances, taking place in a real farm barn!  With music and calling provided by Skinners Rats the barn dance is guaranteed to be a fun evening.   Bring along your own food, drink and glasses and dine on hay bales to complete the rustic evening.  The barn dances are taking place on Saturday 3rd June and Saturday 8th July from 7.30pm – 11pm.  Tickets are £14.  To book visit our website http://www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
    For more information, see our website or contact The Woodlands Farm office on 020 8319 8900.

    Barn dance at Woodlands Farm

    Barn dance at Woodlands Farm

    The ecological surveys at the farm continue this week with May’s monthly bee walk this Thursday, 18th May, meeting at 2pm at the farm office near the scarecrows. At least seven different types of bee were spotted on last month’s walk: a white tailed bumblebee; garden bumblebee; field cuckoo bumblebee; common carder bee; honey bee; buff tailed bumblebee and a hairy footed flower bee, plus some others that were too quick to accurately identify. Contact Hannah on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org for more details.

    Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm

    Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm

    Buff-tailed Bumble bee at Woodlands Farm

    Buff-tailed Bumble bee at Woodlands Farm

    Bee at Woodlands Farm

    Bee at Woodlands Farm

     
  • hilly 12:35 pm on April 27, 2017
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    Kharny Day at Oxleas Wood Café on Bank Holiday Monday 

    Kharny Day Picture poster

    Bank Holiday Monday, 1st May, sees the second annual Kharny Day at Oxleas Wood Café from 11.00am to 5.00pm. This family fun day and dog show, which attracted over a thousand people last year, includes live music, a dog agility competition, bouncy castles, stalls, a BBQ, face painting and a Gladiator knock out for adults.

    Kharny Day was set up by Rachael Webb to commemorate the death of her dog Kharn, killed by an illegally-ridden quad bike in Oxleas Woods on Bank Holiday Monday 2013. Kharn, a Staffie/Lab cross, was  a special dog: Rachael is a disabled woman, and a qualified dog behaviour therapist, who personally  trained Kharn to help her do things she found difficult like emptying the washing machine, supporting her getting up when she fell over and helping her feel more confident in going out. The loss of Kharn was devastating for Rachael.

    As well as remembering Kharn, Rachael set up the event to raise awareness that it is illegal to ride bikes in public woodlands and open spaces and to raise funds for animal charities.  Last year funds were raised for Battersea Dogs and Cats, this year it is for the Blue Cross Hospital for Animals and the Old Blue Cross Pet Cemetery on Shooters Hill Road.

    What a great way to spend Bank Holiday Monday.

     

    Kharny Day poster

     
  • hilly 11:27 am on April 27, 2017
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    Woolwich Opera Works’ Incanto: The Magic of Naples 

    Woolwich Opera Works Incanto: the magic of Naples poster

    Following their very popular Spanish Siesta concert in February, Woolwich Opera Works (WOW) are holding another free concert at All Saints Church in Herbert Road this Sunday, 30th April. Their website provides more detail:

    WOW presents three exciting singers and multi-faceted artist Peter Knapp accompanied at the piano by Jeremy Silver. Together they will transport you to Naples in Italy with their operatic gems from Donizetti’s most famous opera The Elixir of Love, sung in Italian with the story line narrated in English. After the interval the concert continues with popular Neapolitan songs including O sole mio and Funiculì Funiculà. Donizetti lived in Naples for 22 years and 51 of his 70 operas were staged there during that time

    The soloists on Sunday are bass-baritone Tony Baker, soprano Chiara Vinci and tenor Tristan Stocks with Peter Knapp narrating L’elisir d’amore in English.

    Tickets are not required for Sunday’s concert, but it is possible to reserve seats (until 3.50pm) through this website. Tea, coffee and cakes will be sold in the interval by All Saints and there will be a retiring collection for WOW Opera.

     

    Sally Silver, Donna Bateman, Ricardo Panela and Dominic Natoli at Woolwich Opera Works’ Spanish Siesta

    Sally Silver, Donna Bateman, Ricardo Panela and Dominic Natoli at Woolwich Opera Works’ Spanish Siesta

     
  • hilly 3:18 pm on March 29, 2017
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    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day, Easter activities and ecological surveys 

    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day 2017

    It’s a busy time at Woodlands Farm, with the lambing season in full swing and the lambing trained volunteers on a rota to support the ewes. This leads up to the Lambing Day fair on 9th April, Easter Holiday children’s activities and the start of the surveys of the farm’s flora and fauna.

    Some 38 of the farm’s 70 pregnant ewes have given birth so far, and there seem to be more triplets this year. The first to lamb were the recently arrived, rare breed Manx Loaghtan which have striking black lambs, now old enough to be gambolling in the fields. The newly born lambs will be on display at the farm’s annual Lambing Day fair on Sunday 9th April from 11am to 4pm, entrance price £2 for adults £1 for children.  The fair will also have the usual stalls, country crafts, children’s activities and café and barbecue.

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    The week after Lambing Day the farm will host its Easter Holiday events for children. Hannah, the Education Officer, wrote with details:

    Easter Holiday Events
    Tuesday 11th April  Mad Hatters Tea Party  10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm
    The second in our series of events to celebrate 20 years of the Woodlands Farm Trust.  Come along to our Mad Hatters Tea Party, dress up and join our celebrations as we make fun hats and prepare some food to start the party!  £4 per child.  Booking is essential, to book call 0208 319 8900.  Don’t be late for a very important date!
    Wednesday 12th April    Marvellous Minibeasts 10am-12noon or 1pm-3pm
    Do you love creepy crawlies and bugs?  Join us as we find out all about minibeasts.  We will be doing a craft as well as using magnifying glasses to see what we can find in the woods.   £4 per child.  Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.  This walk is not suitable for buggies.
    Thursday 13th April   Egg-cellent Easter Trail    Any time between 10am and 2pm
    Join us for our annual Easter Trail.  Can you find all the different Easter Eggs and Spring Animals hidden around the farmyard? Find them all and you will get your own Chocolate Easter egg to take home.  Drop in any time between 10am and 2pm.  £2 per child
    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    Hannah is also the person to contact if you are interested in helping with the comprehensive set of surveys of the wildlife and plants at the farm. They start with the monthly bee walks to record the numbers and types of bumble bees, the next one of which is on Wednesday 19th April, then there is the first of the pond surveys, mainly looking for amphibians, on Thursday 27th April. Later surveys will include wild flowers, hedgerows, butterflies, moths, mammals and bats.

    With luck, there’ll be some corky fruited water dropworts again.

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lamb at Woodlands Farm

    New lambs at Woodlands Farm

    New lambs at Woodlands Farm

     
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