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Showing posts from May, 2015

Kingston University Sports Ground Tolworth Bat Survey

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Twenty students and members of the public became Citizen Scientists at the University Sports Ground, Tolworth last night, in order to study the bats at the site. By splitting into two teams and locating ourselves at opposite ends of the site, we were able to discern  more about the local bat population than would a traditional linear bat walk. 
For example, Team 1 situated near the site entrance, had the first bat a common pipistrelle recorded at sunset + 35 minutes. But Team 2 had to wait much longer for bat activity and had to return to the southern hedge boundary in order to find any activity. Unfortunately, heavy rain earlier had an affect on the temperature and insect activity, thereby reducing the about of prey available for bat foraging. Bat passes, including those of a soprano pipistrelle were limited to the boundary hedgerow and oak trees. However we were treated to the activity and calling of a pair of tawny owls. 
One of the participants had some interesting tales about th…

New lights at Kingston University, Knights Park campus.

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The Hogsmill river at Kingston University's Knights Park campus, is an important site for bats. We have undertaken several bat walks in the past and this year (not for the first time) bats been seen flying  in the daytime, during the rising spring temperatures. However light spillage onto the water has always been of concern. The bright, white lights, have covered much of the water surface in front of the cafe/bar area. This has an effect on many species including plants and insects. Hundreds of insects stuck to the wall of the building attest to a light attraction or the 'vacuum' effect of  the light as it 'sucks' the insects  out of the surrounding habitat. 
The university has installed modern new lighting, which is 'warmer' on the colour spectrum, and will be less attractive to insects. The lights are more 'directional', which means there is less spillage onto the water. But they are actually brighter where the light is needed and when used only…

Kingston Biodiversity Network

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The quarterly meeting of the Kingston Biodiversity Network was held at the new Quaker Meeting House, Fairfield East in their wonderful new building.  
Here we heard from Kingston's  Greenspaces Manager regarding the updated Greenspaces Strategy 2015-2018, which will include some of the documents we have been compiling over the last two years. This  includes the Habitat Action Plans for Open Water, Woodland and Grassland. It also has a statement on lighting and there was some debate on the topic of unwanted light spillage from members of the audience. 
Karen Harper spoke about the London Invasive Species Initiative and made clear the distinction between 'invasive' non-native species, which cause harm to the environment such as Japanese knotweed and Giant hogweed and 'non-invasive', non-native species, such as Little owl, which cause no harm.
Lastly Tom Hooker, the Chair of Surbiton Wildlife Group (see previous post) spoke to us about the group's aspirations to f…

Surbiton Wildlife Group at Claremont Gardens

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We held a wildlife walk at Claremont Gardens, Surbiton for 25 Brownies from the local pack, with assistance from a member of the recently constituted Surbiton Wildlife Group (thanks to Stephanie).  This centred around the main attraction, which is the pond.
A bat walk was initiated as it grew dark and twenty participants from the Wildlife Group, were able to hear bats echolocating, whilst using bat detection equipment. 
Although late in the evening (sunset + 30 minutes) common pipistrelles finally arrived to drink and feed over the pond. In fact it was here that two bats spent a lot of their evening foraging over the water. 
Surbiton Wildlife Group wish to improve the pond area, which is partially dry, and have submitted an application of  £10k  to Aviva now online for VOTING! Once you have registered on the site you have 10 votes to use. If they receive sufficient votes to beat other projects in the same category, the project goes through to a final judging phase. Please send it a…

Springtime Safari Orleans House Gardens, Twickenham

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Springtime Safari' brings wildlife and people together through environmental education and creative activity to inspire people to get to know the creatures they live around and to protect and support the natural environment. Biggles, the bat puppet, had his usual visit and was fed sock mosquitos by all!
Philip explained the ecology of the different species that are found along the riverside at Twickenham and the children used a bat detector to find a bat (using a simulated call) in a tree. In addition there were hedgehogs, stag beetles and other mini-beasts.