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Showing posts from April, 2016

Changing species at Richmond Park

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Eighty years ago - the birds  nesting within this tree and gathering food from its canopy - would have been quite different to those of today. These days, ring-necked parakeets seem to adorn every bough  and when C. L. Collenette wrote  'A History of Richmond Park' in 1937,  none had even been recorded.
A very different bird community was recorded in the 1920's and 30's, with not only breeding records of tree sparrow, yellowhammer and grey partridge but  even red-backed shrike. Passage records exist for the latter in 2008 and 2010  (I only saw the more recent).
Collenette writes that the tree pipit was a common summer resident, now described as an uncommon passage visitor. 'On a walk around the park 26th April, 1935, I noted some fifteen different males singing their territories. This bird after the hedge sparrow, is the most favoured host of the cuckoo in the park'.
During today's visit to the park, I was disappointed not to see any swifts, swallows or ma…

Sewage spills into the Hogsmill river

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The following item will be of most interest to pollution volunteers or PAV's, those who volunteer along the Hogsmill river - either collecting the rubbish, monitoring water quality and the amount of 'rag' at misconnected outfalls - and to some of you that may be considering any of these activities in the future (see previous posts and side tabs on the Hogsmill).

During the early hours of 8.2.16, there was a major sewage spill onto Green Lane recreation ground some of which ended up in the Hogsmill river Grid Reference TQ 20062 67989. This was covered during a February posting hogsmill-sewage-spill and in the Surrey Comet.“What appears to have happened is that a power failure at our Hogsmill treatment works, in the early hours of 8th February, put the inlet pumping station out of action. This, combined with a burst of very heavy rain earlier that night, caused incoming flows to back up and discharge via manholes onto the Green Lane recreation ground. A large area of the …

Hogsmill Community Garden Open Day May 1st

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East of Villiers Road, just beyond King Athelstan School, on a rectangular plot of waste ground (128’ x 47’) is the Hogsmill community garden. Led by two directors from Kingston Environment Centre, work  to clear  brambles started in the winter of 2013.   A poly tunnel, outdoor toilet and water pump have since been installed. Plans exist to install a pond; fill the raised beds with vegetables and bee friendly plants. Volunteers are always welcome
There will be an Open Day on the Sunday 1st May 2016 from 11 am – 4pm.

Dawn Chorus Walk Ham Lands

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Yesterday morning I led a dawn chorus bird walk for the Friends of Ham Lands organised by South West London Environmental Network (SWELN).

There was a good turn-out of 25 people -considering the frosty 6am start - with the weather remaining entirely in our favour. Twenty five species were seen/heard by the group with others-like the great spotted woodpecker- seen or heard by individuals.

The most frequently encountered singing bird was the wren; with at least ten territories on a six acre habitat patch along an area south of the Thames Young Mariners. Three song thrush territories were recorded, with one seen on the ground, gathering invertebrates in order to feed young.

Highlights include a pair of blue tits  seen mating on a  tree near the river, along with a close encounter with a female black cap. It was good to see a healthy colony of house sparrows persists along river side drive although finches were few and a lone singing male chaffinch was eventually heard along the tow path…

Mayor's Community Awards

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Volunteers and community workers received awards in recognition of their commitment from Kingston’s mayor last Thursday evening. It was great to see Tom Hooker get an award for services to Claremont Gardens as part of Surbiton Wildlife Group.

Also  former director of the Kingston Environment Centre Bona Shin received an award for her work with the Korean community and Theatre For All.

Tolworth Girls School planning app

Open land to the rear of Tolworth Girls School (known as Tolworth Recreation Ground) is about to be developed. Action is required to lessen the environmental impact of this scheme.

Variation of planning permission 14/10306/FUL to allow amendments to the layout of the  of 106 residential units, highway works, sports provision and landscaping  can be seen here16/10089.
An ecological consultancy Ltd (PJC) was commissioned by Tolworth Girls’ School & Sixth Form and Gleeson Developments Ltd to undertake an extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey on land adjacent to Tolworth Girls’ & Sixth Form School during 2012. Long story short -  protected species were found on site - including  a positive reptile survey and I quote.......

Breeding birds are likely to use the areas of scattered trees, hedgerows and scrub on site as nesting habitat. The UK breeding season for most bird species takes place between March and September. Ideally, work affecting these structures should be avoided duringthis pe…