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Showing posts from May, 2012

Ants of Seething Wells

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My neighbour is a myrmecologist and has noted a specific lack of myrmex in these pages, which this post seeks to address. Myrmecology is the scientific study of ants, a branch of entomology. Some early myrmecologists considered ant society as an ideal and sought to find solutions to human problems by studying them. Their diversity and prominence in ecosystems has also made them important components in the study of biodiversity and conservation.
Compared with much of the rest of Europe, Great Britain has a smaller number of ants. The size and diversity of ant species in any area is largely determined by the highest summer soil temperature, and this being so, it is not surprising that the greatest concentration of different species is centred in the warmer parts of the country – Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, the Isle of Wight and Kent being the 5 richest counties, with 33, 31, 29, 27 and 26 different species present respectively.
Four species are recorded at Seething Wells including: a s…

Seething Wells Water Levels and Water Quality

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It is understood that newly appointed consultants will resume their surveys next month. The water levels and water quality are very different from when the Filter Beds were sold (2009). The draining of the FB's (Jan, Oct, 2011) changed the site (from left) to the swan photograph below. The  pair of swans breeding at Filter Bed 7 are able to stand in the water, demonstrating the current  low water levels. Draining led to the growth of vegetation, including reeds and other plants, which have died back over the winter. As these plants have become submerged through rainfall, the increased nutrient levels in the water have led to the algal growth, which now forms dense mats over the water surface.






Daubenton’s bats are capable of gaffing or trawling insects directly from the water surface using their feet or interfemoral membrane.  It has been shown using fecal analysis that a quarter of the total prey caught by Daubenton’s bats are directly from the water surface and the remaining 75%…

Seething Wells Facebook Page

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Seething Wells now has its own Facebook page FriendsofSeethingWells
The Group is for us to discuss plans and share ideas. It's an open group, so all can see discussion, with prospective members able to request to join 

The Friends of Seething Wells are working towards a future where everyone can enjoy the benefits of access to the disused Victorian waterworks alongside the Thames in Surbiton. Seething Wells is a natural, historical and archeological asset - not just for the local communities of Surbiton and Kingston, but also for the nation.

Seething Wells and The London Plan: Thames Policy Area

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This is what the Mayors London plan says about the Thames Policy Area: 


Development proposals within the Thames Policy Area identified in LDFs should be consistent with the published Thames Strategy for the particular stretch of river concerned. 

The policies are currently: 




Policy 3.5. Conserve and enhance the nature conservation interest of the River and its corridor with particular attention to Seething Wells and Hampton Court Park. 
Policy 3.6. Conserve the feeling of open space created by the Water Works, particularly between the Portsmouth Road and the River. 
Policy 3. 7. Retain a clear separation between the Dittons and Surbiton at present provided by the Water Works site by only allowing lowrise development incorporating open spaces as appropriate south of the Portsmouth Road  and keeping land north of Portsmouth Road (the area now under consideration) free of built development.

It is therefore surprising that Hydro (the site owners) are being given a platform to  expound the…

Kingston Green Radio 87.9 FM

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Yesterday there was an opportunity to broadcast local biodiversity issues on Kingston Green Radio, on air until the end of May. We chatted about the Kingston Handbook No. 18, published by the  London Ecology Unit, now unfortunately out of print. You can still refer to this book in the reference library, or the London Natural History Society Library ( based at the Natural History Museum).  It has a wealth of information about the wildlife sites in the borough. We looked at the entry for Seething Wells, which includes several paragraphs about the chalk grassland plants discussing the 'mauve drifts of small scabious, alive with bees and butterflies'. The latter is a plant rarely found in London.

Prizewinning Photo: Seething River Wall

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Remember the boat trip we took (December, 2011) along the river wall at Seething? Well, this is one of the photo's taken entitled 'Junk Forest' and it was judged runner-up in a recent wildlife photography competition at the Ecology and Conservation Studies Society (ECSS) based at Birkbeck, University of London
see: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/environment/ecss/  In the submission it was described  as  providing important niches for urban wildlife and the only dark stretch of the Thames in Greater London, see earlier post on Urban Ecology. Marigold and rose petals were floating around these boats and our boat, at a Hindu scattering of ashes, which took place simultaneously and made this photo extra powerful. You can see the petals if you look closely. 
This collection of 'Junk' on the commercial moorings at Seething contains protected niches for every coot, moorhen or other animal requiring shelter, far more secure than any bird or bat box could ever be. Even in December w…