Eaglesfield Park Autumn Pond Clearing

Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2018
Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2018

It’s over 6 years since the restored lilly pond in Eaglesfield Park was opened on 15th June 2012, and it’s in need of some TLC. Bridget from the Friends of Eaglesfield Park wrote with a request for help with clearing the pond on Saturday:

Eaglesfield Park – Autumn Pond Clearing
Can you spare any time between 8am – 3pm on Saturday 20th October to take part in an Autumn Pond Clearing?
Could you help us keep Eaglesfield pond a haven for wildlife and a place we can all enjoy?
Residents and other park users will be joining forces with Greenwich Council Parks Department staff to help clear the overgrowth of plants in the pond and tidy up around the edges so that it can continue to thrive when Spring comes.
Giving even an hour of your time would be so helpful.
Eaglesfield Park, which for anyone that doesn’t know it lies right at the top of Shooters Hill bordered by Eaglesfield Road, Foxcroft Road and Cleanthus Road. The pond is tucked away at the far side of the park nearest to the water tower at the top of Shooters Hill. It was restored as a wildlife pond with Lottery funding secured after 4 years of campaigning and fundraising by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park in 2011. Carrying out a major clearing of the plant growth in and around the pond this autumn is vital for the sustainability of the pond. The Friends of Eaglesfield Park would greatly appreciate any help that can be offered.
You can just turn up at the pond at the pond anytime between 8am-3pm on the Saturday or if you’d like more information you can call Bridget Imeson on 07734810402.
Protective gloves will be available, and we have a few pairs of waders for the more intrepid!

There’s been a pond in the current location since the 1700s when it was part of a pleasure gardens attached to the old Bull Hotel, which was located near where the water tower is now. It was a huge achievement by the Friends of Eaglesfield Park to get the funding necessary to restore it as a wildlife pond, but a shame it has got a little bit overgrown. It would be great to get the over-grown water plants out of the way before winter, and there’s even time to do a little bit of work on the pond and still get to the People’s Vote March for the Future in London!

Here are some of my photographic sequence showing the restoration of the pond and how it changes through the seasons.

Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2011
Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2011
Early November 2011
Early November 2011
End of November 2011
December 2011
December 2011
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-February-2012
February 2012
March 2012
March 2012
Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond at the start of April 2012
Start of April 2012
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-end-of-April-2012
End of April 2012
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-May-2012
May 2012
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-15th-June-2012-a
15th June 2012
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-15th-June-2012-b
15th June 2012
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-August-2012
August 2012
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-November-2012
November 2012
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-February-2013
February 2013
Eaglesfield-Park-Lilly-Pond-17th-April-2013
17th April 2013
Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond May 2013
May 2013
Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond October 2018
October 2018

 

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands

Oxleas Meadow, showing the cafe and the water tower
Oxleas Meadow, showing the cafe and the water tower

Bat walks, local history walks, rose garden restoration, woodland conservation and litter picking: the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have been very active since their formation at the end of last year. Sue, the Friends’ secretary, wrote with an update:

As you know we have had a couple of Bat walks and Houses in the woods walk; which we are planning to offer again, weather permitting. We also have our regular activities, the litter collection once a month; the Saturday and new weekday conservation sessions with the Shooters Hill Woodland working group and a new gardening project to re-establish the rose gardens at Jackwood and Castle woods. I have attached a poster about this project including the dates of forthcoming gardening sessions.
Our activities have been developed in response to our members’ requests and we are really fortunate to have knowledgeable members who have been able to lead walks and deliver interesting talks on a range of subjects.
Up until now we have been able to open up all our activities to non members as well as members but with our large and growing membership (currently we have 92 members), we are needing to prioritise some activities such as the Walks to members (their friends/families) only. So far, we have not had to turn people away; we have just had to repeat the walks! Needless to say, we are always grateful for volunteers to work with us on the regular gardening, litter collection and conservation activities.

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands Rose Garden poster

The poster reads:

A massive thank you to all the volunteers who were able to help at short notice with clearing the rose beds at Jackwood Terrace (above). It took a total of 30 man & woman hours to weed the beds.
We have confirmation from the Council that they will add mulch when time allows, but volunteers may be needed to help with spreading.
Parks & Open Spaces did remove the roses from the Severndroog beds (below) with the intention of replacing them with wildflowers. They have now given permission for FOW to replace the roses in the autumn if funding can be secured. We have requested further information on sponsorship permission.
Whilst funding is secured for replacement roses (best planted in the autumn) we are looking for volunteers to help weed and prepare the Severndroog beds during August and September.
We will use this as an experiment to see what days and dates suit different people so please do let suereeve@virginmedia.com know when you can join us (see purple box above).
PS. We will offer to find a good use for the wildflower seeds too.

Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

The next event that the Friends have planned is this Sunday, 14th October, when the Friends’ Chair Tom Wareham will lead  a repeat of the Houses in the Woods walk. This twilight wander through the woods visits the sites of some of the great houses that used to stand in the woodlands: Castle House; Castlewood; Jackwood; Wood Lodge; Warren Wood and Falconwood. Each participant on the walk is loaned an A4 folder with pictures of the houses before they were demolished. As the appropriate points on the walk it is possible to hold the pictures up against the current scenery and see where the houses stood. What a great way of presenting local history! The stories about the houses and gossip about their occupants are fascinating.

It’s very likely that Sunday’s walk is already fully booked, but contact Sue on suereeve@virginmedia.com if you’re interested.

The next dates for other planned Friends’ activities are:

Litter collection                            Saturday 27th October 10am – 12pm
Shooters Hill Working Party Saturday 13th October 10am, Friday 19th October 10am – 3pm
Rose beds & bulbs                      Sunday 4th November 10am-12pm,  Friday 9th November 2pm-4pm

Again, contact Sue for more information. The next members’ meeting is planned for 7.30pm on Tuesday 4th December in Shrewsbury House.

Path in Oxleas Woods
Path in Oxleas Woods
Detail of water feature on Jackwood Terrace
Detail of water feature on Jackwood Terrace

Apple Day and other October Events at Woodlands Farm

Woodlands Farm Apple Day poster

October is a busy month at Woodlands Farm with Apple Day on Sunday, an autumnal walk on 21st and events for children in half-term week which includes a spooky Halloween trailer ride.

Maureen sent me details of the annual Apple Day event:

Join us for a celebration of British apples on Sunday 14 October 2018 from 11am to 4pm. Discover and buy different types of traditional British apples. There will be live music by Skinners Rats, a variety of activities including: tractor and trailer rides (weather permitting), children’s craft fun, a treasure hunt, apple-pressing to make delicious juice, craft and local produce stalls (including our own honey, homemade jams, BBQ) and an opportunity to try some delicious Kentish cider. A great day out for all the family. Entry is £1 adult, and 50p for children. All proceeds go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community. A great family day out!

An opportunity to stock up on the less well-known varieties of apple that supermarkets don’t seem to stock these days, and possibly even a rare Pitmaston Pineapple.

Apples at Woodlands Farm
Apples at Woodlands Farm
Apples at Woodlands Farm
Apples at Woodlands Farm

The following week, on Sunday 21st October, there is the Farm in Autumn Guided Walk starting at  11:00am and lasting about an hour and a half. We are asked to wear suitable shoes for muddy conditions. This walk isn’t suitable for buggies.

Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer wrote about Woodlands’ half-term events for children:

Autumn Half Term Holiday Activities
Autumn Wildlife Explorers Wednesday 24th October 11am – 3pm £3 per child.
This farm explorer’s session will be about autumn at the farm. Find out about what happens during autumn at the farm as well as about the different wildlife which hibernates and what work we do on the hedgerows in autumn, there will also be an autumn scavenger hunt.
This is the last in a series of farm explorer’s sessions throughout the year. Pick up your farm passport to collect stamps for each farm explorer’s session you attend. Collect as many as you can throughout the year to get a certificate and prize! £3 per child. No need to book, just drop in. More information call 020 8319 8900.
Horrible Halloween – craft and spooky Tractor/Trailer ride Friday 26th October Sessions from 2-4pm and 6-8pm £5 per person
Join us for a spooky time at the farm. Make a spooky craft before enjoying a creepy tractor and trailer ride around the farm, but be careful you don’t know what you will see on this Halloween trip! This event is for children age 4-11 years. Due to space on the trailer you have to book for adults and children. To book call 020 8319 8900.
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm
Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm
Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm
Autumn fungi at Woodlands Farm

Hannah is also the person to contact about the last of the farm’s ecological surveys for the year:

Monday 15th October, 2pm – Bee Walk – this is the last bumble bee walk of the year.
Tuesday 16th October, 4pm – Mammal survey – putting the traps out
Wednesday 17th October, 9am – Mammal survey – bringing the traps.

It’s been another interesting year for wildlife surveys at the farm, with all the usual ones being run, including bees, butterflies, moths, bats, tree health, aquatic life, the wildflower meadow and mammals. The Longworth traps have only yielded wood mice this year, none of the voles or shrews that have previously been found. Perhaps Wednesday will be different!

Hawk Moth at Woodlands Farm
Hawk Moth at Woodlands Farm

Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm, Shrewsbury Park and Oxleas Woodlands

Woodlands Farm Bat Walk poster

There are opportunities to search for bats in three of our local green spaces during the next month: bat walks are being held at Woodlands Farm on 23rd August, at Shrewsbury Park on 7th September and in Oxleas Woodlands on 21st September.

The Woodlands Farm bat walk is this Thursday starting at 8.00pm. Booking is required, call 020 8319 8900, and there is a charge of £6 for adults and £4 for children to help fund the farm’s work. The farm participates in the Bat Conservation Trust‘s National Bat Monitoring Programme each year,  surveying for four species of bat at the start and end of July. The first survey this year was the best ever in terms of the number and variety of bats detected, with many contacts with larger bat species such as Noctules and Leisler’s as well as the usual Common and Soprano Pipistrelles. There were fewer bats at the end of July survey, though still quite a few pipistrelles.

Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest
Brown Long-eared Bat at Bat Fest

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walk starts at 7.30pm on Friday 7th September. It’s free, but booking is necessary, as their web site says:

It’s time to adjust your night vision for the now annual Bat Walk. After a short intro – next to the notice board by the Plum Lane car park – Les Clark will lead the walk through the woods and glades where the bats hang out. Bat detectors supplied!
This time we ask that you book your free place in advance using;
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bat-walk-tickets-48480937790
A maximum of 50 people allows everyone to get the most out of the experience. If you don’t have computer access please drop a note through the door at 189 Plum Lane with your name and phone number.
Wear suitable footwear (maybe bug spray too) and bring a small torch if you have one. The walk is approximately 1 1/2 hours. Dogs are welcome if kept on a lead.
If it’s raining neither bats nor us will be coming out!

Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Oxleas Woodlands Bat Walk poster

The Friends of Oxleas Woodlands will be meeting at 7.25pm on Friday 21st September. Again, booking is necessary, with details given on the Friends’ poster:

Following on the success of our first bat walk in May where people saw a number of bats we are offering this second walk.
Bat detectors will be provided so that you can hear the bats in action as they hunt for insects, and try to identify which species of bat there are in the woods.
Please dress warmly for the evening and wear footwear suitable for walking in the woods. You may want to bring a torch too!
Numbers are limited to 30, including children, so BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.
To book your place please email the Friends’ Secretary, Sue Reeve at suereeve@virginmedia.com as soon as possible.
We need your name and how many you are booking for; (Max 2 adults and three children per booking, but please contact us if you need to vary this or wish to book for friends too.) We will also need a telephone number to contact you in case we need to cancel due to bad weather. (Bat’s don’t like it when it’s too cold or raining!).
This activity is free of charge to Friends of Oxleas Woodlands members but a nominal charge of £3 per person will be made to non members on the night.
We will meet at the Crookston Road, SE9 entrance to the woods at 7.25pm and set off promptly at 7.30pm.

Seeing our open spaces at night, and the views over the lights of London, is enjoyable even if the bats don’t co-operate, but let’s hope they do!

Hibernating Daubenton’s Bat at Westerham Mines
Hibernating Daubenton’s Bat at Westerham Mines
Pipistrelle bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Pipistrelle bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Woodlands Farm Summer Show

Woodlands Farm Summer Show 2018 poster

This weekend will be busy with the Plumstead Make Merry at Plumstead Common on Saturday 9th from 12 noon to 6pm and Woodlands Farm‘s Summer Show on Sunday 10th June between 11.00am and 4.30pm.

Hannah, the Farm’s Education Officer wrote with details of the Woodlands Farm event:

Come along to our annual summer show which is part of Open Farm Sunday. Enjoy a sheep shearing display or have a go on our new tractor ride. There will be local stalls selling produce and crafts as well as children’s activities, a BBQ and live music. This event is free but donations are welcome. For more information call 020 8319 8900.

For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Once again this year the Summer Show is combined with  Open Farm Sunday – the farming industry’s annual open day when hundreds of farms across the country will be open to the public. It’ll be a good opportunity to see the farm’s new red tractor.

Also as in previous years Hannah has organised a set of surveys of the farm’s flora and fauna. The next ones are:

Thursday 14th June – Pond Survey, 2pm
Thursday 21st June – Bee Walk, 2pm.
Tuesday 26th June – Wild flowers survey, 1pm

All are welcome at the surveys, though it might be wise to let Hannah know if you are coming in case of changes.

Sheeps shearing at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
Sheeps shearing at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show
The band at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
The band at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show
Clouds at Woodlands Farm's 2017 Summer Show
Clouds at Woodlands Farm’s 2017 Summer Show

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands Bat Walk

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands Bat walk poster

The recently formed Friends of Oxleas Woodlands are holding a bat walk next Friday, 27th April starting at 8.00pm at the Crookston Road entrance to the woodlands.  The walk is free, but places are limited and booking is necessary. Their poster gives the details:

Oxleas Woodlands Bat Walk.
Friday 27thApril at 8pm
Come along and meet our local Bat population.
Use bat detectors to hear the bats in action as they hunt for insects, and try to identify which species of Bat there are in the woods. Bat detectors will be provided. But dress warmly for the evening and wear footwear suitable for walking in the woods. You may want to bring a torch too!
Numbers will be limited to 40, including children. So BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.
Email the Friends’ Secretary, Sue Reeve at suereeve@virginmedia.com to book your place.
We will need to know your name and how many you are booking for; (Max 2 adults and three children per booking, but please contact us if you need to vary this or wish to book for friends too.) We will also need a telephone number to contact you in case there is a need to cancel due to bad weather. (Bat’s don’t like it when it’s raining!).
Meet at the Crookston Road entrance to the woods at 7.55pm.
We are planning another bat walk later in the year.

Serotine bat at the BCT's Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

This is the Friends’ first event since their inaugural general meeting on 7th March, but they plan to hold  other events such as history walks and  wildlife and plant surveys. They have also held a number of litter picking sessions; the next one is on Saturday 21st April meeting at the café at 10am, or at the traffic lights at the Welling Way/Rochester Way Junction at about 10.15.

The bats should be out of hibernation now, feeling very hungry after the long winter, and trying to make up ground on their feeding schedule which will have been delayed by the poor weather. Usually the females will form maternity colonies in May before giving birth to a single pup during June.

Recent bat walks in the area, such as those at Shrewsbury Park and Woodlands Farm have also spotted hedgehogs as they looked for bats, so if you get a place on the walk keep a look out.

The Friends plan to hold another bat walk later in the year, so if you don’t get a place on this one there will be a further opportunity later on.

Pipistrelle bat at the BCT's Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Pipistrelle bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT's Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Serotine bat at the BCT’s Halloween is For Bats event at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

New Year’s Day guided walk around Woodlands Farm

The meadows at Woodlands Farm
The meadows at Woodlands Farm

What better way to start  2018 than with a New Year’s Day guided walk around Woodlands Farm? Hannah from the farm sent details:

New Year’s Day Guided Walk Monday 1st January 2018 11am – 12.30pm
Start the year with a bracing stroll around Woodlands Farm- a winter guided walk to counter the seasonal excesses. This will be an easy paced walk to look at the farm and animals in winter and the way the farm works with nature. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for walking across fields. This walk is not suitable for children under 10 years. Meet outside the cafe in the farmyard. Free, donations welcome.

For more information, see our website or email admin@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Woodlands Farm is located on the borders of the London boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich. At 89 acres, it is the largest city farm in the UK. Our priorities are education and conservation, and we are part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. Our education programme attracts visitors from pre-school to third-age groups. The Trust aims to involve local community groups, schools, volunteers and businesses in farming and conservation, helping to bridge the current town-country divide.

While at the farm there’s a chance to see two new calves: crosses between the farm’s British Whites cows, Snowdrop and Honeysuckle and Aberdeen Angus bulls. There may even be a third calf by Monday as the farm’s other British White, Clover is due to give birth any day.

Happy New Year!

One of the farm's British White/Aberdeen Angus cross calves
One of the farm’s British White/Aberdeen Angus cross calves
Clover the British White cow
Clover the British White cow

New Friends of Oxleas Woodlands group

Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics
Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics

A new group, the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands has been set up to help look after our precious local woodlands. Tom wrote to tell me about the group:

The group is evolving out of and alongside the Shooters Hill Woods Working Party, and is a response to what we see as the growing threat to the woodlands from a wide range of sources, and to the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees initiative. We are working with the Council’s Parks and Open Spaces Dept. and are in the process of recruiting members.

The friends are actively looking for members and have been out in the woods and at the Oxleas Cafe encouraging people who use the woods to join. It is also possible to join through the contact page on their website.

Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood
Wood Anemones in Oxleas Wood

The web site also lists the group’s objectives:

a) To assist with the general management of the woodlands
b) Undertake conservation and practical maintenance (through the Shooters Hill Woodlands Working Party)
c) Undertake activities to support the use and enjoyment of the woodlands, focussing on both adult and children’s engagement with the woodlands
d) Provide a focus for local (and wider) support for the woodlands and to build links with local residents, schools, businesses and other organisations
e) Undertake cultural activities to encourage knowledge, appreciation and personal investment in the history, flora and fauna and general environment of the woodlands
f) Fundraising

The Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees  initiative “was launched in Lincoln Castle on 6 November 2017; the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.”  This Charter signed in 1217 by Henry III protected common people’s rights such as ‘pannage’ (grazing for pigs), ‘estover’ (collecting firewood), ‘agistment’ (grazing) and ‘turbary’ (cutting of turf for fuel). The new one aims to celebrate the importance and value of woodlands to people today and to protect trees and woods from the threats of development, disease and climate change.

There have been some major threats to Oxleas Woods over the years, not least from proposed new motorways: it’s good to have a group focussed on defending them in future.

Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics
Rapier Missile Battery on Oxleas Meadow during 2012 Olympics
Horse riders on Eltham Common
Horse riders on Eltham Common

October at Woodlands Farm: sloe gin, Apple Day, half-term activities and ecological surveys

Hedgerow liqueurs 2017 poster

There’s lots going on at Woodlands Farm during October: a Hedgerow Liqueurs course on Sunday, the annual Apple Day fête, half-term activities for children and the regular range of ecological surveys.

Hannah, the Education Officer at the farm, wrote with details of the Hedgerow Liqueurs course:

HEDGEROW LIQUEURS
Sunday 8th October 2017     12.00—4.30pm
Price £12 (£8 members)  18+ years only
Sloes are scarce, so we will be using a mixture of fresh picked fruit and frozen fruit, to make together our delicious sloe gin this year, in good time for Christmas
Bring your own gin or spirit of choice together with at least a one litre, wide neck (>2.5cm) container. Kilner type jars, 1.5 litre, will be available at cost price. Sugar and sloes will be provided by Woodlands Farm.
Book early via the Farm Office, numbers limited

 

Sloe berries at Woodlands Farm
Sloe berries at Woodlands Farm

Apple Day Poster 2017 colour A4

This is followed by the annual Apple Day fair on the following Sunday:

Join us for a celebration of traditional British apples on Sunday 15th October 2017, from 11am-4pm. Discover and buy many different types of traditional British apples. There will be a variety of activities including a treasure hunt, apple pressing to make delicious juice, stalls selling local produce, including our own honey and home-made jams, cakes and try some Kentish Cider. A great day out for all the family. Entry is free, but donations are welcome and go towards the running of the Farm. No parking on site. Please use public transport.

Archy, the farm’s new Manx Loaghtan ram, should be out in the field with the ewes by then: he’s getting a bit frustrated in his current home in the barn. The farm will also be getting some longhorn cattle soon as they start to focus more on rare breed animals.

Archy, the farm's new Manx Loaghtan ram
Archy, the farm’s new Manx Loaghtan ram

At the end of the month it’s half term week, and as usual the Farm have laid on some interesting and educational activities for children. Again Hannah wrote with the details:

October Half Term Events
Wednesday 25th October   Farm Rhymes and Riddles 1pm-3pm £2 per child
Test your skills at solving rhymes and riddles as you try our trail. Can you figure out what animal each riddle is about, while exploring the farm. Work them all out and get a prize! There will also be a chance to meet some of our animals. No need to book just drop in.
Thursday 26th October   Leaf Lanterns 10am – 12noon and 1pm-3pm £4 per child
Join us for an autumn walk round the farm to find out about different types of trees and leaves. We will be collecting what we find to then use to make and decorate a leaf lantern to take home. Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.
Friday 27th October     Halloween Trail and crafts 11am-3pm £3 per child.
Halloween is just round the corner so join us for a day of spooky crafts. There will be a creepy animal facts trail round the farm where you can find out all the gruesome and scary things about British wildlife. Come dressed up to get in the full spooky spirit. No need to book, just drop in.

 

Some of the farm's awards this year
Some of the farm’s awards this year

 

The farm’s regular schedule of ecological surveys continues through the month. Previous months have seen surveys of pond life, bees, moths, bats and wild flower meadow plants (lots of magical missile-repelling Corky Fruited Water Dropworts), and the first mammal surveys. The mammal surveys continue this month and there is the last of the monthly bee walks of 2017. The currently planned survey activities for October are:

Wednesday 11th October 3.30pm – Mammal survey setting up traps
Thursday 12th October, 9am – Mammal survey collect traps
Tuesday 17th October, 3.30pm – Mammal survey setting up traps
Wednesday 18th October 9am – Mammal survey, collect traps
Wednesday 18th October, 2pm – Bee walk – last of the year
Monday 30th October, 10am – Dipping pond maintenance. Wellies or waders recommended!

If you’d like to help with the wildlife surveys contact Hannah Ricketts on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

Sexing a Wood Mouse

Sexing a Wood Mouse
Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm
Common Carder Bee at Woodlands Farm

Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm and Shrewsbury Park

Shrewsbury Park bat walk poster Sept 2017

This weekend has seen the annual celebration of bats that is International Bat Weekend, so it is fitting that we have two bat walks in Shooters Hill this week: one at Woodlands Farm on Thursday,  31st August and then at Shrewsbury Park on Friday, 1st September.

Details of the Woodlands Farm Bat Walk are on their web site:

Thu 31st Aug 19:30 – 21:00 Join us for a bat walk around the farm. Woodlands Farm has a number of different species of bats, using bat detectors we will try to find some. The walk will start at 7.45pm. Please bring a torch and wear sturdy shoes. £6 adults, £4 per child. Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding their second bat walk of the year on Friday. Kris Inglis wrote with the details:

Friday 1 September 8.00 pm Shrewsbury Park
• 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’s raining, neither the bats nor us will be coming out!
Meet in the car park for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the Park at sunset using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!

It’s been a good year for bats in my experience. The National Bat Monitoring Programme field surveys in July went well. At Woodlands Farm volunteers detected a good number of pipistrelles, and also overflying noctules. We even detected pipistrelles in our Canning Town survey area which in previous years has had none, or perhaps a single pipistrelle detected at Canning Town Recreation Ground. It doesn’t help that the area has the noisy and polluting A13 running through it. There were also quite a few pipistrelles in the May Shrewsbury Park bat walk. As a bonus hedgehogs were seen at both the farm and Shrewsbury Park.

One of my batty highlights of this summer was a bat walk at South Mere in Thamesmead led by Karen Sutton the Biodiversity Team Manager at Thames Water. There are lots, and I mean lots of insects flying over and around the lake, and these attract a large number of bats: noctules and the larger bats and possibly Daubenton’s bats over the water and common and soprano pipistrelles in the lakeside trees. It was a spectacular display of agile bats flying close to us spectators, and so many that it was difficult to distinguish their calls on our bat detectors to decide exactly which bat species were present.

The highlight this year  so far though was our waterway survey along the River Cray near Hall Place. For the first time since the Waterway Survey has been carried out here there were definite detections and sightings of Daubenton’s bats feeding over the river. They flit about very close to the water surface capturing their insect prey using their large feet or tail membranes. I recorded some of the echolocation calls using my new toy, a Peersonic bat recorder: the result is shown in the trace below which was analysed using the Audacity free audio editing software. I can foresee hours of fun analysing the details of bat calls!

Recording and spectrogram of Daubenton's bat in Audacity
Recording and spectrogram of Daubenton’s bat in Audacity

 

Hibernating Daubenton's Bat
Hibernating Daubenton’s Bat