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

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