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

Shrewsbury Park summer festival on Sunday

Shrewsbury Park festival leaflet

 

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding another of their marvellous summer festivals this Sunday, 9th July. The event kicks off with the official opening of the new drinking fountain, The Watering Hole, at 12.30pm by the Mayor of Woolwich, Peter Brooks along with “at least two” of our local Councillors. The new fountain was partly funded by the councillors’ ward budgets as well as money raised over the years by the Friends.

This year’s festival is packed with events and music. As well as the amazing dog show, there will be community stalls, crafts people, ice cream, face painting and yoga. Local Tai Chi teacher Dorothy Ng will present  a Tai Chi demonstration from 1pm to 1.30pm, and the StepZ Dance troupe will be showing their skills.  Intriguingly Emergency Exit Arts will be revealing the secret life the urban meerkat in their Meerkat Menagerie and the astronomers of the Royal Observatory’s Flamsteed Society will be bringing along their specialist telescopes and equipment for some solar observing.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Jazz Nights, folk duo Pytchwood, Susan Turner and Mark (Gilly) Evans of the Gillies and the Bexley Ukulele Band.

Registration for entry to the dog show events starts at 12.30pm, costing £2.00 per class, with the following competitions:

  • Fun agility course;
  • Best rescue dog;
  • Best fancy dress;
  • Puppy class (under 12 months);
  • Best child handler;
  • Obedience class;
  • Best biscuit catcher;
  • Dog most like its owner;
  • Fastest dog.

Unmissable, as usual.

 

Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

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

 

 

 

Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm and Shrewsbury Park

Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015
Brown long-eared bat at Bat Fest

Next weekend, 27/28 August, is International Bat Weekend, which is marked by batty events across the world. Locally both Woodlands Farm and the Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding bat walks in the coming weeks, and London’s Bat Fest is being held over the weekend at Woodberry Wetlands in Hackney.

There seem to be plenty of bats around this year. The NBMP field survey at Woodlands Farm in July detected quite a few pipistrelles and some noctules. Pipistrelles have also been detected at the Wide Horizons Constitution Rise woodland, Manor House Gardens, Hall Place and Hervey Road sports field. Even normally sterile Canning Town had more than its usual solitary pip in this year’s NBMP survey. However the waterways survey along the River Cray at Hall Place once again found no Daubenton’s bats.

Woodlands Farm BatWalks 2016

Woodlands Farm’s bat walks will be held on Wednesday 24th August and Thursday 1st September. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

Join us for our annual bat walks. Starting with a brief introduction to bats we will then go on a walk round the farm trying to see and hear bats using bat detectors. You will need sturdy footwear, suitable outdoor clothing and a torch. Children must be accompanied by an adult (not recommended for children under 6 years). £6 per adult, £4 per child (under 16 years). To book go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-woodlands-farm-trust-8448478250

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park bat walk is on Friday 2nd September at 8.00pm. Kris sent me details:

Meet in the car park for an introduction from bat-wise FSP members who will lead this adventure through the Park using our eyes, ears and bat detectors!
The walk is free to members and £2 for non-members (but you can join on the night). Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather and paths. Children must be accompanied by an adult. And dogs must be kept on a lead.
The walk lasts about 1 1/2 hours and a torch is useful.
The car park may still be open but not at the end of the walk so remember to leave cars outside of the Park. If you have any mobility queries please contact us on fspdog@hotmail.com and we will help you participate.
If it rains neither the bats nor us will be coming out!

Let’s hope it stays dry for all the bat walks!

Shrewsbury Park Bat walk poster 2016

Friends of Shrewsbury Park 10th Anniversary Festival

Friends of Shrewsbury Park Parksfest leaflet

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding a weekend of festivities to mark their tenth anniversary: they first met on 13th March 2006, and have been responsible for many improvements to the park since then. Kathy, the Chair of the management committee wrote with details:

We are planning a weekend of events to celebrate our 10th birthday.  On Saturday 11 June we are holding our summer festival of jazz, choir and dance from 2 – 4pm.  On Sunday 12th June, we are holding our fabulous Dog Show from 1 – 4pm.

Saturday 11 June 2-4pm – we have Bella Voce Social Club Choir, Greenwich Morris Men, Summer Jazz from Jazz Nights, Community Activity Stalls, Solar Scopes, Pony rides and more
Sunday 12 June 1-4pm – our fabulous Dog Show featuring fun agility course, best rescue dog, Shrewsbury’s got talent, best child handler, Puppy class (under 12 months), best fancy dress, obedience class, fastest dog. You need to enter your dog at the Registration desk at 12.30. The £2 per class goes towards the fundraising for the drinking fountain.

The park’s summer festivals are always very enjoyable, with lots of different activities from the Flamsteed Astronomy Society demonstrating how to safely view the sun through to the traditional dancing of the Greenwich Morris Men. And the dog show is always great fun. This year’s line-up looks the best yet.

 

Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Solar telescopes at the 2015 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Agility competition at the 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

Shrewsbury Park Events in 2016

A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park
A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park celebrate their tenth birthday this year and have arranged a packed programme of events to mark the anniversary, starting with a bramble clearing session this Saturday. Kathy, the Friends’ Chair, e-mailed the details:

We are holding a cutting back bramble hour on Saturday 19th March, at 11am. If you are able to help, please meet at the crossroads of Dothill and the Green Chain walk (the bottom of the concrete path that leads down from the car park).  Please bring stout gloves and your secateurs and loppers, we would appreciate your help.  If it rains, the event will not take place.

The 2016 events include bird, butterfly and bat walks, and a history walk, plus the ever entertaining dog show. The full programme is:

March         19th:   Clearing brambles
April            30th:  Bird identification walk
May             21st:   Tree identification walk
June            4th:    Clearing brambles
June            11th:   Summer Festival
June            12th:   Dog Show
July             16th:   Butterfly identification walk
July             22nd:  Historical walk
September  2nd:   Bat walk
September  3rd:    Clearing brambles
October      18th:   AGM

The Friends have also re-built their web site and are regularly adding new content, it can be found at http://fspark.org.uk/ They would welcome feedback on the site. I think it’s looking pretty good.

A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park
A Spring day in Shrewsbury Park

Park Weekend

Eaglesfield Park Sunday 27th Sept 2015

The weather for the weekend is forecast  to be “Fine and dry with settled conditions,” so a good weekend to get out into our local parks. Both Shrewsbury Park and Eaglesfield Park have community activities this weekend.

On Saturday the Friends of Shrewsbury Park are having one of their regular tidy-up sessions. Kathy wrote with details:

If you can spare an hour to help clean up the park by picking up rubbish and cutting back brambles, please meet this Saturday at 11am at the Garland Road entrance to Dothill.  Please bring your gardening gloves and secateurs.

Then on Sunday the Friends of Eaglesfield Park have things going on all day. In the morning they have one of their clean-up sessions at the lilly pond, assisted from 11.00am by Youth Volunteers from NCS (National Citizen Service), then after lunch another free Tai Chi session led by Tai Chi  teacher Chew-Yeen. Following the Tai Chi, Chew-Yeen has organised a “cake sharing” for a donation of £2 in support of MacMillan Cancer Nurses. We’ll need to bring our own flask of tea or coffee

The details are all on the Friends’ blog, but the key times are:

10.30 am  –                     Monthly pond and meadow tidy up and weeding.
11.00 am – 3.30 pm      Youth volunteers from NCS (National Citizen Service)  weeding and community survey.
1.00 – 2.00 pm              Tai Chi session.

Let’s hope the met office are right for once.

Hawthorn berries in Eaglesfield Park
Hawthorn berries in Eaglesfield Park

Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk

Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walk poster

September is the start of the breeding season for bats and also when they  start to build up their fat stores for the winter hibernation, so hopefully there will be plenty of them around for the Shrewsbury Park bat walk on Friday. Kathy from the Friends of Shrewsbury Park e-mailed the poster and details of the walk:

Please find poster attached giving details of the Bat Walk on 11 September, starting at 7.45pm in the car park.
It is free to you as you are a member of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park. You will see that we have decided to charge non-members for the walk. If non-members join the Friends, then the walk will be free to them. By charging non-members, we will increase the funding towards our drinking fountain. If they join, then we will increase our membership.
We will have to spend a few minutes at the beginning of the walk checking membership.
Just a reminder, if it is raining, the bats will not be out, nor will we.
Fingers crossed for a dry evening.

This is the last local bat walk for this year as far as I know. Lots of bats have been detected and sighted on all the others, let’s hope Friday maintains the record.

Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015
Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015
Serotine bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015
Serotine bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

The Walking Time Machine and other walks in Shrewsbury Park

Greenwich Morris Men at Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Greenwich Morris Men at Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

Local archaeologist Andy Brockman will be the “Walking Time Machine” on Friday when he leads a walk through the history in and around Shrewsbury Park. This is the first of three free walks arranged by the Friends of Shrewsbury Park. Kathy from the Friends wrote with details:

One of our members, Andy Brockman, who is a Shooters Hill based archaeologist, is providing a free walk on Friday 17 July 2015 starting at 7.30pm. If you are interested, please meet at the car park off Plum Lane. He says, “your journey aboard the Walking Time Machine will last approximately one and a half hours and twelve thousand years, taking in the Bronze Age, London’s first Open Air School and the Battle of Britain. Families and well behaved dogs are welcome. This event is part of the Council for British Archaeology Festival of British Archaeology.

and then:

19th July, at 10am: Local birds.  John Beckham will be leading the walk around the park and pointing out the local birds. Meet at the Garland Road entrance and bring binoculars if you have them.
25 July, at 3pm: Butterflies.  John Denton will be showing us the different butterflies in the park. Meet at the Green Chain sign on Dothill (at the bottom of the concrete path that leads from the car park).  Bring binoculars if you have them.

The “Walking Time Machine” is part of the 25th Festival of Archaeology which is co-ordinated by the Council for British Archaeology. There are over a thousand events taking place across the country between the 11th and 26th July 2015. I’m looking forward to learning about the Open Air School which was the first such school opened by the LCC in 1908 and based in Shrewsbury Park. David Lloyd Bathe’s “Steeped in History” describes the school, and includes a number of photographs of it such as the one below from the Greenwich Heritage Centre. Some of the pictures are of wooden buildings that formed part of the school. It’d  be interesting to know where they were located. And where in Shrewsbury Park was Colonel Bagnold’s Bronze Age barrow number 6?

Nature studies at the Shooters Hill Open Air School, from the Greenwich Heritage Centre collection
Nature studies at the Shooters Hill Open Air School, from the Greenwich Heritage Centre collection

Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival 2015

Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival 2015 leaflet

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park have excelled themselves with the number of attractions and events in year’s Summer Festival, which takes place on Sunday 28th June from 2-5pm. Kathy from the Friends wrote with all the details:

We hope to see you at our Summer Festival on 28 June.  The fabulous dog show will start registration at 1.30pm, and the classes are:
*  fun agility course
*  best rescue dog
*  best child handler
*  sing with your dog
*  puppy class
*  obedience class
*  fastest dog.
It costs £2 per class, and the profits go to Friends of Shrewsbury Park (to go towards our drinking fountain).
We will have the Doriel School of Dancing at 2pm, Greenwich Morris Men at 3pm, and Leo’s Kpop group at 4pm.  They will be presenting a routine, then teaching any willing participant to do a routine.
We will have the Greenwich Rock Pop Community Choir from Abbey Wood who will run a small singing workshop. They will get a bunch of passers by, give them a lyric sheet and teach them the harmonies to a song like daft punk’s – Get Lucky,  Beatles – Help, Mama/Papas – california dreamin’.
Hawk and Hood will be there with their birds of prey, and Woodlands Farm Trust will bring along some of their sheep to the event.
We will also have the Dogs Trust, Flamsteed Astronomy Society, Friends of Pet Cemetery, Friends of Bostal Heath, Guide Dogs, the Police, RSPB, Severndroog Castle, Paws and Co, Riverford Home Delivery, Season, the local Councillors, Aloe Vera alternative, Robert’s Walking Sticks, Shabby Chic, and Phoenix Cards.  The Friends of Shrewsbury Park will be providing a Tea and Cake stall, lots of goodies in the bric a brac, a children’s play area, used books and membership stall.

It’s worth going to the Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival just for the brilliant, entertaining dog show, but with all the other events and stalls too it is just unmissable.

Obedience Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Obedience Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Fastest Dog Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Fastest Dog Competition at 2013 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival