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Showing posts from March, 2016

Hogsmill Sewage Works Nature Reserve

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The first sand martins have reached sw London (recorded at the London Wetland Centre) so fingers crossed that they will find the sand martin bank at the nature reserve at the old Surbiton sewage works.

The birds of the day were the song thrushes, singing at the sewage works as well as at Surbiton and Kingston cemeteries; with a lovely view of one of them heading into cypress trees.

This was topped by a view of the male stonechat, perching on relatively immature vegetation, probably attracted to the commotion caused by resident house sparrows congregating  at the recently filled feeders.
Also benefiting from the abundance at the feeding station were coal tits, green finches and robins, although chaffinches are conspicuous by their absence. (My old Ladybird book of birds, once stated that this was our commonest species).

With ten pochard, 2 shelduck, 2 gadwall, 2 dabchick as well as a host of other regulars on the lagoon the site is looking very good for this coming season.

Tolworth Court Moated Manor Open Day

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Remember us clearing the ground and getting the green gates installed at Tolworth Court moated manor site? Well yesterday, we had our first public open day, to show off the reserve's natural and heritage assets.  Around 100 people rolled up to listen to talks about wildlife and land management from me; archaeology from Julie Wileman; participate in a scything workshop  from Elliot Newton followed by some words of historical wisdom from the pages of Bob Phillip's new book entitled 'The Story of Tolworth' now available from many local outlets, including the nearby Court Farm Nursery.
One of the features of the moated manor is the yellow meadow ant mounds - an artifact of traditional grazing management - as well as the subsequent Higher Level Stewardship annual hay cut regime, currently in operation along the Hogsmill Valley corridor and Tolworth Court Farm Fields.

I am told that the ant-hills appear to have a high ratio of height to radius. This happens when the ant-hill…

Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) workshop 18.3.16

Yesterday I went to the CaBA workshop, well attended by members from many of the 108 river catchment partnerships that exist throughout the country. This included, officers from the Environment Agency and  good representation from Thames Water - one of our own Hogsmill Partnership members (see previous posts on the South East Rivers Trust; including side tabs on  naturalising the Hogsmill river and Beverley Brook). 
The London boroughs were well represented (Harrow, Enfield, Walthan Forest, Lewisham, Croydon) with many officers leading the presentations, on how they had dealt with devastating fluvial and pluvial flooding events in their boroughs with prevention top of their agenda. The London Wildlife Trust demonstrated their role in the Lost River Efra Project and how they were incorporating Sustainable Urban Drainage with depaving interventions. A CIRIA representative discussed their support for SuDS delivery and the guidance document that can be downloaded from their website.
Pete…

Flood Risk Position Statement

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Left: the River Hogsmill in flood between Rose Walk and Green Lane Recreation Ground, Berrylands, 1937. This image has been reproduced with permission from the website Britain from Above
A group of us recently came together to talk about the risks of flooding in the borough of Kingston. We have identified a mismatch between the intervention required to mitigate flood risks and practice; particularly where new developments in Flood Zone 3 are concerned. There is also concern about loss of soft verges, and trees and an increase in urban density. 

Understanding how rivers work by guest blogger Tracey Lloyd

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I 'met' Tracey on an  Environmental Humanities provided by the University of New South Wales, Australia. This was a MOOC course provided by Future Learn coordinated by the Open University.

The participants  were sharing  interventions they had undertaken - or hoped to undertake in the future - to demonstrate pressing environmental issues to the public.

Although river flow demonstration tables are available to see (at Kingston University) or for hire (South East Rivers Trust) they are too heavy to move; or too expensive to hire for unfunded groups.

I really enjoyed seeing Tracey's model, which can be put together very easily as follows:
Helping People understand how rivers work by playing in the sand