Bat Walks in Shrewsbury Park, Woodlands Farm and Oxleas Woodlands

With International Bat Night coming up it’s great that there are three local bat walks in the next couple of weeks, at Shrewsbury Park, Woodlands Farm and Oxleas Woodlands.

The first of the three is next Friday, 23rd August in Shrewsbury Park. Kris, Chair of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park, sent me details:

Bat walk Friday 23 August – 8.15pm
After a short intro next to the notice board by the Plum Lane car park, Les Clark will lead us through the woods and glades where the bats hang out. Bat detectors supplied.
Booking essential –
eventbrite.co.uk/e/bat-walk-shrewsbury-park-se18-tickets-55871554323
*Wear sturdy shoes and weather-appropriate clothing
*Children must be accompanied by an adult
*Walk lasts about 1 ½ hours and small torches are useful
*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 bats nor us will come out!

The Woodlands Farm bat walk is the following week, on Thursday 29th at 7.30pm, but I see from their web site that it is already fully booked.

The following day, Friday 30th August, the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have their bat walk. Their August Update gave details:

Bat Detecting
Friday 30th 8pm
Meeting at dusk we will use bat detectors to track down these nocturnal residents in their natural woodland habitat.
The Friends of Oxleas Woodlands is a community organisation run by volunteers. Walks are free for members & under 16s, otherwise £3 and need to be booked at suereeve@virginmedia.com

Lots of opportunities for night-time walks in our local green spaces hunting for bats.

Sophie the Serotine Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE's educations bats
Sophie the Serotine Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE’s educations bats
Brown Long-eared Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE's educations bats
Brown Long-eared Bat, one of Jenny Clark OBE’s educations bats
Hibernating Natterer's Bats in Highgate Tunnels
Hibernating Natterer’s Bats in Highgate Tunnels


The Past in The Park Time Walk on Friday

Local Archaeologist Andy Brockman is leading a local history walk, The Past in the Park, this Friday starting at 6.30pm in the car park in Shrewsbury Park. The Shrewsbury House poster gave the details:

The Past in The Park Time Walk
Friday 26 July – 6.30 pm
Meet in the Car Park of Shrewsbury Park
Join the walking time machine and celebrate this Festival of British Archaeology. Free, all welcome. Walk will last approximately two hours ending in the gardens of Shrewsbury House – where the House bar will be open!
Local archaeologist and Shrewsbury House trustee, Andy Brockman, will lead a tour of the Park and the summit of Shooters Hill.
Itinerary; Oldest building on Shooters Hill, remains of the medieval woodland belonging to the Parish of Plumstead, the site of London’s first school for children with Special Health Needs, the housing development that never was, traces of the men and women who defended London during the Blitz and the place where you stopped being a Londoner and became a Kentish Man [or Woman].
Tickets and info available from wegottickets.com/shrewsburyhouse
-Or ask at House reception
An event for the Council for British Archaeology Festival of British Archaeology, organised by Shrewsbury House and the Friends of Shrewsbury Park

Andy has run a number of Time Walks and they’ve all been fascinating. A great way to learn about the history of Shooters Hill.

Andy Brockman at Colonel Bagnold’s air raid shelter
Andy Brockman at Colonel Bagnold’s air raid shelter

Two fairs on the hill this weekend

There are two fairs on the Hill this weekend: the Shrewsbury House Summer Fete on Saturday and the Shrewsbury Park “Lark in the Park”, including their marvellous dog show, on Sunday.

Shrewsbury House‘s Fair on Saturday 20th July starts at 12 midday and ends at 5.00pm. Their invitation says:

Our Summer Fete and Craft Fair is just around the corner, with lots of fun activities for children such as face painting, a bouncy castle, belly dancing, a toy tombola and more – there is lots to keep little ones entertained!
Maritime Radio will be on the decks spinning some tunes and taking your requests, and of course we have a huge range of wonderful craft stalls with everything from Art to Body Products to Bags, Leather Goods and Homewares.
Come along and join in the fun!

Shrewsbury House is aiming to raise money to buy a defibrillator: you can donate by test as follows:

To donate £1, text HEART to 70201 To donate £3, text HEART to 70331 To donate £5, text HEART to 70970 To donate £10, text HEART to 70191 http://easydonate.org/HEART

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s summer fair, the Lark in the Park, is on Sunday 21st July between midday and 4pm. It sounds even better than usual, with music from Jazz Nights, Pytchwood, Flatfoot Johnny and the Wandering Rhythms and the Bexley Ukeleles, plus a range of stalls, various street foods and a beer tent. And then there is the amazing dog show which includes competitions for the scruffiest dog and the dog that looks most like its owner.

Here’s some pictures from the Friends’ previous dog shows to whet you appetite …

Spring events in Shrewsbury Park

108 non-stop sun salutations in Shrewsbury Park
108 non-stop sun salutations in Shrewsbury Park

Lots going on at the Friends of Shrewsbury Park this spring: a tree identification walk this Sunday, 28th April, then a bat walk and foraging walk, plus there’s news of their Summer Festival and calendar photography competition.

The Friends‘ e-mail gave the details of the upcoming walks:

Tree Identification Walk – Sunday 28 April 2019 at 2pm
Led by John Denton, an expert in local flora and fauna, you’ll learn more than you ever dreamt of about the trees in the park, how they’ve survived and thrived, how old they are and much more!
Meet at Plum Lane (Car Park area) by the information board

BAT WALK – Friday 3 May, start time 8pm – 1 ½ hours approx
Our knowledgeable bat guide, Les Clark, will be leading this spring walk around the park, starting at the notice board next to the car park. He’ll give a quick briefing on bat facts and how to tune in the bat detectors.
Wear sturdy shoes and bring a small torch as eyes adjust to the dark. The walk includes a mix of terrain so please bear that in mind when booking. Dogs are welcome if kept on a lead. Any questions please contact werfsp@gmail.com
Pre book on EventBrite (link to follow) as we have a 50 person limit. The event is free, but donations are welcome as they go towards a second bat detector for members’ use.
Another bat walk is scheduled for 23 August in case you miss this one.
If it rains neither bats nor humans will turn up!

Foraging Walk – Sunday 12 May at 2.30pm
The amazing Kevin Godby will be leading a walk around the park, demonstrating what you can and can’t eat. He’ll also talk about how our ancestors would have selected particular leaves and berries to supplement their diet.
Meeting point will be the Dothill (Garland Road park entrance) | No dogs please | spaces limited to 30

To book a place on the bat walk go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bat-walk-shrewsbury-park-se18-tickets-55871554323

Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Tree in Shrewsbury Park

The Friends have announced the date for this year’s Summer Festival: Sunday 21st July from 12 to 4pm. If you’re interested in having a stall at the Festival, which is part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s well-publicised “ParkFest” then you’ll need to send in an application form, available on the Friends’ website, by the end of April.

The Summer Festival includes the Friend’s Calendar photograph competition. They e-mailed details:

Annual Calendar competition
If you have been with us for more than a year, you’ll be aware that we run an annual photography competition for our members to contribute the great photos which appear in our calendar. Winners receive a copy of the calendar – and the glory of having their picture and name in print!
We’re sure you have some super shots that you’ve captured in the park – so why not enter them? You can enter a maximum of 3 photographs. they must be at least 2mb in size
You need to be a member, but membership is free and you can sign up via our website.
Send us your entries today
Deadline for Entries
Entries will be judged at our Festival on Sunday 21 July – entries should be emailed to us along with your name!
Send them to werfsp@gmail.com by our deadline of midnight on 28 June 2019.
All photos entered need to be of good resolution – typically at least 2mb (megabytes) in size. We’re printing it in square format so do make sure it will resize successfully.
Don’t forget a catchy caption to go with it!

Some great reasons to visit the park this spring!

Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Tree in Shrewsbury Park
Autumnal tree in Shrewsbury Park
Autumnal tree in Shrewsbury Park

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

Shrewsbury Park summer festival on Sunday

Shrewsbury Park Summer Spree leaflet

The Friends of Shrewsbury Park are holding their annual summer festival this Sunday, 8th July, between 12 noon and 5.00pm.

The Friends‘ e-mail described the event:

Shrewsbury Park Spree is this Sunday!
Don’t miss our fantastic attractions – so much fun for the kids and plenty for the adults too! local crafts and the tombola, not to mention wonderful music, dance performances, and lots and lots of cake!
We have local artists and craftspeople, yoga and fitness demos, face painting, community interest stalls, dog-related stalls, kiddies games area, tempting lunches, tantalising tombola and some fab surprises!
From 12pm – 5pm
Don’t miss it!
New! Astronaut School
Shows are FREE but booking is essential. The show is for children aged 3 – 8 (strictly no under 3’s allowed) and all children must be supervised by a parent/guardian. To book please follow the below link…
For more information, or to book, please contact ross.bolwell@eea.org.uk | 020 8853 4809

The Astronaut School sounds interesting. It is described as “an immersive theatre show for 3-8 year olds and their families combining live performance, music, storytelling and painting into one interactive theatre show.” Places can also be booked through the Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) web site.

There’s no dog show this year, but Jazz Nights, Pytchwood, the Gillies and the Bexley Ukulele Group will be providing musical entertainment again, along with the Eltham Hill Steel Pans. STEPZDance also return. I hear that there will be Nepalese food from Namaste, and possibly Pizza from Rust Bucket Pizza. Should be a good afternoon once again.

Pytchwood and the Gillies at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Pytchwood and the Gillies at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

Fastest Dog event at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Fastest Dog event at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

Fastest Dog event at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Fastest Dog event at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

Fastest Dog event at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival
Fastest Dog event at the 2017 Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival

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